Parliament & Politics: Promise to end secrecy

WELSH ASSEMBLY
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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S FIRST freedom of information regulations will be introduced next year if Rhodri Morgan wins the contest to lead the Welsh Assembly.

Yesterday the Cardiff West MP said that, if elected in May, he would make all assembly civil servants subject to a wide-ranging openness code. The non-statutory code would be in place two years before any Freedom of Information Act the Government is pledged to introduce in this Parliament.

In the first main policy announcement of his campaign for the Labour candidacy, Mr Morgan said: "Breaking down the culture of secrecy and bringing openness, inclusiveness and accountability to public life in Wales will be the hallmark of my leadership of the Assembly. The establishment of the National Assembly ... is an opportunity which should not be missed by awaiting a Freedom of Information Act of Parliament."

The code for Wales would bring into force the Government's White Paper proposals on freedom of information before the passage of legislation through Westminster.

Constituency parties, Welsh Labour MPs, Welsh Assembly candidates and trade unions will choose between Mr Morgan and Alun Michael, the Welsh Secretary, for the leadership; the result will be declared on 20 February.

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