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Jan 21st, 2016

87,000 voices – FOI

By Rachel Oliver

This blog post is written by 38 Degrees Campaigns Director, Blanche Shackleton.

It’s not easy to shock politicians – but yesterday 38 Degrees members did just that. Sitting in front of a panel of five Lords, ex-MPs and legal experts I told them that over 87,000 38 Degrees members had sent in their views and experiences for me to feed in to their review on the future of Freedom of Information (FOI).

I could see the surprise on their faces as it sunk in that 38 Degrees members had got in touch in such huge numbers to demand that the government stopped any plans to water down FOI. For every question asked I was armed with thousands of opinions from 38 Degrees members up and down the country. Thank you for helping make this possible.

38 Degrees members messages were united – don’t strip down our right to know what the government is up to. The fact that in the last week 190,000 of us have signed a petition calling for FOI to be extended to private companies receiving public money, shows how firm we stand. We won’t tolerate less transparency – we want more.

This evidence session gave us a chance to hammer home where we stand. But we can’t stop now. This committee is advising the government, not making the final decision. We still need to work together and do what we do best: get our MPs on side and prove our right to Freedom of Information is non negotiable.

Thanks so much for being involved. I was so proud – and nervous – to represent the views of tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members who have campaigned together on this so far. Here’s to getting ready for the next steps and stopping the government’s plans in their tracks.

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