Wednesday 6 July 2011

Tory MP breaks ranks...

Tory MP Pauline Latham stood apart from her peers yesterday to criticise Transport Secretary Philip Hammond over the Bombardier situation.

She rejected the idea that the decision to give the £1.4bn Thameslink contract to Siemens could not be reviewed. Full story in the Derby Telegraph, but here is a snippet...

Other Derbyshire Tories have avoided the suggestion that Mr Hammond could have done more to push the Thameslink contract Bombardier's way.

But Mrs Latham branded a ministerial pledge to see what other work could be offered to Bombardier as "an empty gesture".

She said: "The Transport Secretary has said he will review other available contracts to see if any might be brought forward, but that could take so long that we would lose the skilled workers from this area.

"I have been lobbying the minister and I'm angry that he hasn't listened.

"I accept that the tendering requirements set down may have restricted him and were set up badly, but he should be doing everything he can now to help, because the last thing we need in Derbyshire is 1,400 more people out of work."

Monday 4 July 2011

Home Office FoI

Since the beginning of April Lobbydog has been trying to get hold of the numerous responses to the Government’s consultation on elected police commissioners using the Freedom of Information Act.

It’s pretty clear what the Association of Chief Police Officers thought about the idea, but it would be interesting to know what councils, particularly Tory run ones, said of the policy.

The Home Office initially refused the request to release all responses to the consultation saying it would cost too much money and take too much time to comply with.

So I refined my request to just ask for a selection of specific councils. Now they have come back and asked for more time to decide whether the information I’ve asked for is exempt from the FoI Act.

At the moment they are suggesting that it is exempt under section 35 – which in my experience is the exemption used when they can’t make any other exemption fit.

Section 35 exempts information from release if it “relates to the formulation or development of government policy” which could arguably be just about anything.

Watch this space.