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Public Records: Colonial Documents

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 30 June 2011

In my statement to the House on 5 May 2011, Official Report, column 24WS, I announced my intention to appoint a senior and independent figure to oversee the process of reviewing and transferring migrated archives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to The National Archives.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tony Badger, Paul Mellon Professor of American history and Master of Clare College at the university of Cambridge, to this position.

The independent reviewer will:

Provide independent oversight of the process of selection, review and release into the public domain of papers from the FCO’s “migrated archives”.

Provide assurance to the wider public that the process is being carried out in accordance with my commitment to transparency, notably my intention to release

“every part of every paper of interest, subject only to legal exemptions”.

These exemptions are set out in the Freedom of Information Act,

Offer guidance on prioritisation of the files for selection, review and release to ensure that the papers of greatest interest or highest significance are dealt with first and without undue delay.

Provide independent scrutiny of the steps FCO has taken to locate or confirm destruction of the missing top secret files.

Send a short report to me at the conclusion of the process, for publication.