A new Labour MP has put a motion to Parliament encouraging colleagues to extend the Freedom of Information Act to contractors. 

Paula Sherriff, the MP for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton, put forward the idea as an Early Day Motion (EDM).

The Freedom of Information and Private Companies Delivering Public Contracts motion reads:

“That this House believes that private companies delivery public contracts should be subject to freedom of information requests, because at a time when public spending is under increased scrutiny, it is more important than every that spending is transparent; and further believes that it is imperative that any organisation using public funds is accountable to the taxpayer.”

It’s incredibly rare that an EDM will ever progress enough to become law but no publicity is bad publicity.

The idea of extending the FOI Act to private companies that operate under public contracts was also ruled out by the previous government that said

It’s not the first time that Labour has pushed to extend the FOI Act to private companies receiving public money. For the last few years they said they would extend the Act if they had won May’s election and a previous EDM was signed by 53 MPs.  

Image courtesy of Paula Sherriff 

I am a journalist and author. I am a journalist at the UK edition of WIRED magazine. In 2015, my first book Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. My second book Reed Hastings: Building Netflix, was published in March 2020. I created FOI Directory in 2012 and have maintained it in my spare time ever since.