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Is this freedom of information?

One month into the Government's 'new era of openness', outrage grows at a catalogue of obfuscation and evasion in answer to requests for disclosure

02 February 2005

Iraq war: legal advice

Q. Please disclose the legal advice given by the Attorney General on the legality of the war with Iraq?

A. No. It is exempt as legally privileged information. (Attorney General)

Iraq war: legal discussions

Q. Please disclose all ministerial and senior military officer correspondence on the subject of the legality of the war/conflict with Iraq.

A. No. There is no obligation under the Act to disclose this information. (Ministry of Defence)


Q. Please disclose material concerning Stephen Byers' decision to declare Railtrack insolvent in autumn 2001.

A. It would not be possible to respond to this request within the appropriate cost limit. (Department for Transport)

Olympic bid

Q. Please disclose the assessment of the original candidates to head the Olympic bid following interviews that led to the appointment of Barbara Cassani.

A. No. Interview notes have probably been disposed of. (Greater London Authority)


Q. Please disclose all the open evidence against the Belmarsh detainees.

A. No, this would be too costly. Some of the information might also be exempt. (Home Office)

David Kelly

Q. Please disclose the minutes of the meeting of the BBC board of governors on the day of the publication of Lord Hutton's report on his inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly

A. It will take us until 9 March 2005 to balance the public interest against the possible harm of disclosure. (BBC)

Primary schools

Q. How many primary schools in England still have outside lavatories?

A. The department does not hold this information. (Department for Education and Skills)

Lord Irvine's flat

Q. Please disclose documents relating to the redecoration of the Lord Chancellor's residence, including costings, since 1997.

A. No. The question is almost certain to exceed the appropriate cost limit. (Department for Constitutional Affairs)


Q. Please let us see papers relating to the DTI investigation into BAT.

A. The department holds such information, [but] the information itself is being withheld as it falls under the exemption in section 44 of the Act. (DTI)


Q. Please provide minutes of meetings held between officials at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and executives of US gaming companies.

A. We need extra time to determine if this is in the public interest. (DCMS)