OFMDFM information move like North Korea, says Nesbitt

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
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The claim by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness’s department that it should be allowed to withhold information if it might cost them votes is “entirely unacceptable”, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has said.

Yesterday the News Letter revealed that in response to a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) had attempted to withhold its risk register as it “could prejudice ministers’ electoral prospects”.

The Information Commissioner has dismissed the argument and ordered the release of the document.

Mr Nesbitt, who himself secured an Information Commissioner decision against OFMDFM for information about the Maze Prison site, said the argument was “extraordinary”.

He said that if the “totally anti-democratic” argument had been made by David Cameron, it would be a major political scandal in London and added: “This is worthy of North Korea or some former eastern bloc country during the Cold War.”