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Victory for Post's fightagainst council secrecy

The Nottingham Evening Post has won its second fight against secret council cabinet meetings in just two and a half months.

Notts County Council has scrapped secret meetings after intense pressure from the paper. It follows a similar climbdown by Rushcliffe Borough Council in July.

Both U-turns stem from the Post’s powerful Secret Society campaign, which was launched at the beginning of the year.

The paper won overwhelming reader support as well as backing from some local MPs after examining the culture of secrecy pervading public life, from the heart of Government to local councils, the police, health service and quangos.

Home Secretary Jack Straw made important concessions in the Government’s Freedom of Information Bill after being shown the paper’s Secret Society dossier.

At the beginning of this month, the Post published a front page comment, illustrated with photographs of every member of the cabinet, condemning the county council after its first meeting behind closed doors. A two-and-a-half hour discussion had produced published minutes of less than 1,000 words.

Now the council has caved in.

Post editor Graham Glen said: “This is an important victory against a council which had been implacably opposed to opening up its meetings.

“Secrecy corrodes the basic principles of democracy. The public’s right to know is paramount and that is what our fight is based on.

“The Secret Society Campaign will go on to combat any public body which believes it is above scrutiny.”

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