HC Deb 23 November 2000 vol 357 cc290-1W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he plans to put in place to ensure that the discretionary release of exempt information under the Freedom of Information Bill will be in the public interest. [139391]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The Bill provides that a public authority must disclose information if the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure. This test applies to all but a small number of the exemptions contained in Part II of the Bill.

The Information Commissioner will oversee the operation of this test by public authorities and can order the disclosure of information in the public interest, subject to an appeal to the Information Tribunal, or in limited circumstances, the overriding opinion of a Cabinet Minister or Law Officer.