Emily Thornberry – 2021 Comments on Breach of FOI Guidelines

The comments made by Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, on 12 June 2021.

What we are seeing revealed here is something deeply dangerous and corrosive to our democracy: evidence of a government department breaching the FoI guidelines, categorising information according to its sensitivity and the person requesting it, and taking advice on handling requests from the secret Cabinet Office Clearing House.

It is patently obvious that none of those things are being done in the interests of transparency and integrity; but what we need to know now is whether they are being done to circumvent or delay the government’s obligations under the law, and whether the system in place at the Department for International Trade is in widespread use in other government departments.

In addition, it is now all the more urgent that the Cabinet Secretary accepts Angela Rayner’s demand for an independent investigation into whether Michael Gove broke the Ministerial Code when he denied the existence of all these practices in his evidence to Parliament last December.