Release of Cabinet Devolution Minutes Blocked by Straw; Decision Puts Minister at Odds with Information Commissioner

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 11, 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Release of Cabinet Devolution Minutes Blocked by Straw; Decision Puts Minister at Odds with Information Commissioner


Byline: Tomos Livingstone

JUSTICE SECRETARY Jack Straw was accused of covering up Cabinet rifts over devolution last night after vetoing the release of documents dating back to 1997.

It is only the second time Mr Straw has used his veto over the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, having previously only intervened over Cabinet minutes relating to the Iraq war.

The decision puts Mr Straw at odds with the Information Commissioner, who had insisted there was no reason why the devolution papers should not be made public.

The documents relate to meetings of the Cabinet's Committee on Devolution to Scotland, Wales and the English Regions (DSWR), set up within days of Labour's election victory in 1997.

The group was chaired by then-Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, and included Cabinet big-hitters John Prescott and Mr Straw himself, who was then Home Secretary. Welsh Secretary Ron Davies and Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar attended to make their case for their own preferred models of devolution.

Meetings were held regularly before and after the referendums of September 1997, and there were several disagreements over the shape of the new Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Rows are known to have blown up over how much power should be given to Cardiff Bay, the way the new institutions should be funded and how much tax-raising power should be given to the Scottish Parliament.

Disputes also arose over issues from the future role of MPs to more mundane problems such as the status of the Potato Marketing Board.

Mr Straw said releasing the minutes, which had been requested under the FOI Act as long ago as 2005, would undermine the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility.

In a lengthy written explanation of his decision to wield his veto, Mr Straw said: "Robust debate and candid discussion are central to the Cabinet process and our system of government...A number of individuals, and indeed current Government ministers, have comments attributed to them in the minutes.

"There are around a dozen issues where the chair either summarises an agreed position following discussion during which different views had been stated by identified ministers, or even acknowledges that the committee cannot come to an agreed position at that time."

Mr Straw also argued the policy questions in the minutes were still "live", with a possible referendum to be held on Welsh devolution and changes proposed in Scotland.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Release of Cabinet Devolution Minutes Blocked by Straw; Decision Puts Minister at Odds with Information Commissioner
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.