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MPs join battle against council secrecy

The Parliamentary battle against more secrecy in local government is growing.

Sixty-three MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to make sure that the introduction of Westminster-style cabinets will not allow councils to operate in more secrecy.

The Local Government Bill will force councils to adopt new structures but some have already set up one-party cabinets which debate key policies behind closed doors.

The MPs’ motion states: “This House welcomes the greater public access to meetings and information provided by the Local Government (Access to Information) Bill 1985; believes that such provisions are important for democracy; and hopes that they will continue as part of the new arrangements for local government executives and directly-elected mayors.”

The move has been highlighted by the Nottingham Evening Post in its campaign against Britain’s “secret society”. It quotes Labour MP Nick Palmer as saying: What we’re doing is consistent with the Government’s intention of making councils more efficient, democratic and open.”

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “I’m glad that MPs are beginning to wake up to the dangers of the Local Government Bill, which could take us back a generation in terms of council secrecy.

“Well done, the Nottingham Evening Post and other regional papers, who are at the forefront of a battle that must be won.”

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