Brown's government accused of 'same old spin'

A flood of written statements were issued on the final day before parliament's summer recess
A flood of written statements were issued on the final day before parliament's summer recess

Gordon Brown's administration stands accused of "the same old spin" and trying to bury bad news after a flood of written statements were issued on the final day before parliament's summer recess.

Today is the start of parliament's 76-day summer break, but yesterday more than 100 written ministerial statements were issued on topics as diverse as the prime minister establishing a new government Equalities Office and tax help for flood victims.

Des Browne announced the purchase of a new military transport aircraft while Gillian Merron announced "radical change" to civil service pensions. It was also revealed who partied at Chequers in Tony Blair's final days.

The timing of the release of this much information drew heavy criticism from opposition parties.


"It doesn't give members of parliament proper opportunity to be able to assimilate the information and then be able to question ministers," said Theresa May, shadow leader of the Commons.

"It comes on the back of a number of other things where we've seen parliament not being given greater respect as the prime minister promised when he came into his office, but actually disdain being shown to parliament by ministers in a whole variety of ways."

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, who had been asking for some of this information, was equally outraged.

"The government has attempted to block the publication of these details to the Liberal Democrats at every turn and then decided to release the information to a Labour MP alongside scores of other announcements," he said.

"The government introduced the Freedom of Information Act, it is remarkable to see how resistant it is to complying with it."

Liberal Democrat front bench spokesman Norman Baker added: "It seems that the new spin-free era of Gordon Brown has come to a shuddering halt just weeks into his premiership."

He added: "It is same New Labour, same old spin."

However leader of the Commons Harriet Harman rejected the criticisms.

"There is a question as to whether or not departments look ahead, make sure they can give a written statement to this House, rather than either holding up decisions until October or putting them out to the media during the recess," she told MPs.

"It is simply a practical issue."

Click here for the full list of written ministerial statements issued on the last day before the summer break

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