Jack Straws disdain for the Freedom of Information Act has apparently reached such a level that he said he would be part of the FOI Commission in a “personal capacity”.

When the review was announced the Labour Party distanced themselves from his involvement in the Commission but a party members have now criticised him further.

The Independent, speaking to anonymous sourcesreport that Straw insisted on being on the panel even if it was away from his party.

The sources also said Straw was working with the Conservatives to dismantle the Act.

The paper was told: “But, for whatever reason, he decided to go ahead. Frankly, that is not massively helpful for the party. We are very clear that he is not representing us and is purely there in a personal capacity.”

Straw, who was responsible for pushing the original FOI legislation through parliament – 10 years ago, has frequently spoken out about the Act. In one case he said the Act needs to be re-written. 

The FOI Commission was formed more than a month ago but has not – at least publicly – announced that any work has started. However, it has been criticised by leading campaign and civil liberties groups.

The Cabinet Office which is the government department that formed the review has refused to answer Freedom of Information requests about the Commission’s formation. These include requests for Jack Straw’s discussions with ministers in the run up to him being selected for the panel.

View a timeline of the FOI Commission so far. 

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.