Friday, May 25, 2007

Do what I say, Not as I do.

It really beggars belief that our very own Lib Dem MP is in the papers again trying to blame the Conservative and Labour parties for the Freedom of Information act excemption for MP's.

For those who don't know a Bill has been passed last Friday which could exempt MP's from the requirements of the Freedom of Information act.

The bill was passed on a free vote, which means MP's had no instructions either way from their party whips and could vote as they pleased. No amount of spinning by the Liberal Democrats alters the fact that MP's made the regrettable decision to excuse themselves from public scrutiny all by themselves.

A number of MP's on all sides of the House voted agains this bill while some MP's - including both the South Devon Liberal Democrats who have made such a fuss about this in public - didn't vote last Friday so the bill survived.

Fortunately David Cameron has promised that Conservative Peers will oppose this measure in the Lords and as a result it will probably not become law.

In the meantime this yet one more example of Liberal Democrats jumping on a bandwagon about an issue in public but when it comes to the crunch - when they really could have had a say - doing nothing about it in private.


Barrie Wood said...

Marcus, once again you are wrong. I expect a retraction from you as a cursory look at last Friday's Hansard will see Adrian Sanders name recorded in at least two divisions on the FOI PMB.

An apology is in order I think if you are to retain any shred of credibility.

Anonymous said...

I read the story in the Herald Express who IIRC said Sanders had spoken but missed the vote.

Typical Lib Dem behaviour to take the moral high ground but then not back it up with action.

My MP Richard Younger Ross missed the vote as well.

His excuse ("Even if I had been there it would only have been symbolic because it clearly has government backing," ) was truly pathetic.

MP's are all as bad as each other in my opinion- (no, Lib Dems are worse) its a gravy train that MP's are on at our expense.

The Sunday Times has again exposed some more MP's for employing their wives and family members at our expense.

That is at least one bandwagon Sanders won't be jumping on will he? Given that he is one of them!

Also apparently MP's can get an extra 7 grand just for meals!!

Diddums ... isn't 60,000 a year (and in some cases another 36,000 for the missus) enough for them?

Marcus Wood said...

You are not quite right Barry, although I think Adrian did speak for some of the debate I know he missed the crucial vote due to a misunderstanding about what time it was.

I don't hold the fact that he missed the vote against him so much as the misleading line he has taken in the media.

This is one issue on which we agree; had I been and MP I would have voted against the measure.

I am a great believer in giving credit where it is due and the Lib Dems - and especially Norman Baker- are to be applauded for the stand they have taken.

However it was a free vote; and as it was only eighteen Conservative MP's voted in favour on Friday.

The internal politics are interesting on this. David Maclean was the chief whip under IDS and is closely associated with that time.

It was widely accepted in Westminster that the new intake; most of the younger Tory MP's and the majority of Cameron supporters were unhappy with the bill as proposed. A quick look round the Tory blogosphere reveals that there were few apologists for Mcleans bill outside Parliament either.

David Cameron let it be known that we will oppose it in the Lords.

I thought is was therefore wholly unneccessary for Adrian to make a song and dance in the media saying this was all Tory/Labour plot when he knew full well that this was not true.

And it was doubly irritating knowing that he hadn't actually made it to one of the most crucial votes.

Barrie Wood said...


Largely we agree on the grubby FoI bill and I must give you credit for recognising the role of Norman Lamb {Lib Dem] MP on this issue, so anon you have no justification for accusing the Lib Dems of taking the moral high ground but not following it up with action for NOT ONE Lib Dem MP voted in favour of the bill.

Anon you might not have noticed that Anthony Steen Tory MP for Totnes has been very vocal in support of this iniquitous proposal. I don't see any criticism of him from Marcus - surprise, surprise !

Having checked with Adrian Sanders, I can confirm he did vote in two divisions on 18 May and the further vote was only 'missed' as it was brought forward from 2.30 to 1.57 by Labour / Tory supporters of the bill with approval from the Speaker. Adrian had left the H of C by then.

I hope that puts the record straight and maybe Marcus you might look at the antics of your own side and those in your party supporting the FoI bill than in trying to score points against Adrian, whose position and voting record is wholly consistent.

Lib Dems in the House stuck to their Liberal instincts on this issue, that is beyond dispute ! Conversely, where is the evidence of the new-model 'liberal' Conservatives of Cameron's imagination ?