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Information Commissioner

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 9 December 2009

5. What steps she is taking to ensure that material held by her Department which is requested by the Information Commissioner is provided promptly to the Commissioner. (304982)

The Cabinet Office aims to respond to requests from the Information Commissioner for material required for an investigation in a timely fashion.

I am not really happy with that answer. I want to know who is responsible for the grotesque delays in responding to my freedom of information request regarding Lord Ashcroft. Is it the Cabinet Office that is dragging its feet, or is it the Information Commissioner who is being dilatory and totally useless?

I might not be able to answer that question in the way that my hon. Friend has invited me to, but I can tell him that the Information Commissioner has not issued an information notice regarding any request that he has made to the Cabinet Office.

What follow-up does the Minister do with other Departments? I have just waited a year and a half to get an answer to an information request from the Department for Transport, and even now it has not been answered fully. Does she think that is too long to wait, or is that the sort of time line that I should expect?

Freedom of information matters are dealt with by the Ministry of Justice, so I will draw the hon. Lady’s concerns to the attention of ministerial colleagues at MOJ and ask them to take note of what she says.