The Labour Party will extend the Freedom of Information Act if they are successful in next month’s election, their party Manifesto says.

“Our Freedom of Information laws have shone a light into the darker corners of government and are a crucial check on the power of the Executive. We will extend their scope so that public services run by large private companies are
included,” the manifesto says.

The manifesto was launched by party leader Ed Miliband at an event in Manchester today. It is expected that Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos will also be released in the next two days.

The announcement is a repeat of previous promises by the party to extend the Act to private contractors who are spending public money.

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s shadow justice minister, has said, in two party conferences, that the party would increase the scope of the Act.

Most recently, in 2014, Khan said: “We’ll also extend Labour’s freedom of information law. Giving people a legal right to know how their money is being spent when private companies deliver public services.

“G4S, Serco, Capita, ATOS and others subjected to the same openness we demand of the public sector.”

The election promise also follows campaigning and Early Day Motions by the Labour MP Grahame Morris.

The Labour Party was the first in the UK to include a FOI Act and right to know information in its party manifestos.

Before Tony Blair’s government passed FOI into law 2000 the pledge to introduce an Act had appeared in manifestos since 1974.

The pledge comes on page 68 of Labour’s 2015 Manifesto
labourfoiFeatured image courtesy of the Labour Party via Flickr / Creative Commons. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.