Journalist Heather Brooke gives her backing to HandsOffFoI campaign as 10,000 sign petition
Nov 6, 2015 — Here is an emaill written by Heather Brooke which is being sent out by Change.org to encourage more people to sign this petition. Today went over 10,000 names which is great news - thanks everyone for your support:
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act helped me to break one of the biggest scandals of the last decade - revealing the truth behind MPs' expenses.
The FOI request I submitted was simple - what expenses are MPs claiming from public money? I expected a quick reply from Parliament. Instead, they fought for four years to keep this information secret to save their embarrassment.
I won my case in the High Court and Parliament was forced to compile the data. But they delayed and delayed. They even tried to change the FOI law to exempt themselves from it. They weren’t successful, but it wasn’t until a whistleblower leaked the entire dataset that the public finally saw the full extent of what MPs had claimed on expenses - including a duck house, moat clearing and new kitchens. The FOI act exists for the public good, that’s why I’m backing the Press Gazette’s campaign to protect it.
Now the Government is reviewing the FOI law and considering clamping down on how the public can use it - we cannot let this happen. The FOI request I made led to an overhaul of the way MPs can spend public money - it was also the beginning of forging a new relationship between citizens and the state.
A lot of good can come of freedom of information. This is why I believe it is absolutely vital not only to fight off this scurrilous attack on the FOI law, but push for it to be strengthened and enforced.
There are serious problems with stubborn and powerful elites who refuse to accept that in a democracy the public have a right to know. Don’t let them get away with keeping the truth from you. Sign the petition and support the campaign to keep FOI strong.
Journalist, helped expose the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal
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