Simon Hughes

Simon Hughes MP (Liberal Democrat) MP for North Southwark & Bermondsey

Digital Economy Bill

Simon has been written to at least twice: once in January, which received no response. Written to by at least two people on the 17th March, encouraging him to push for a debate.

Electronic Voting

House of Commons debate Business of the House 25 October 2007

... There is no public support for counting by machine, which means that people cannot see what is going on. People prefer counting by individuals, which means that people can see what is happening. Ultimately, somebody has to take responsibility for elections.

Identity cards

Signed Early Day Motion 263 Identity Cards 06 June 2005

That this House believes that a convincing case for the introduction of compulsory biometric identity cards and a national database has not been made, that the risks involved far outweigh any discernible benefit, that the introduction of identity cards will fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state, diminish personal privacy and threaten civil liberties, that the present proposals do not provide properly costed, proportionate or effective solutions to the problems they are claimed to solve; and calls upon the Government to shelve plans for their introduction.

Freedom of Information

Signed Early Day Motion 845 Freedom of Information 06 February 2007

That this House expresses concern that the proposed new fees regulations under the Freedom of Information Act would allow authorities to refuse on cost grounds a high proportion of requests which they are currently required to answer; notes that the Government's consultation document recognises that this will have a greater impact on journalists, hon. Members, campaign groups and researchers than on private individuals; considers that such changes would undermine the Act's contribution to increased discussion of public affairs, accountability and trust in the work of public authorities; and calls on the Government not to proceed with the proposals.

Signed Early Day Motion 2699 Freedom of Information 10 December 2006

That this House welcomes the finding of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (HC991) that the Freedom of Information Act has `already brought about the release of significant new information and....this information is being used in a constructive and positive way' and the committee's conclusion that it sees `no need to change' the Act's charging arrangements; views with concern reports that the Government is considering changing these arrangements to permit an application fee to be charged for all requests or to allow authorities to refuse, on cost grounds, a significant proportion of requests which they currently must answer; and considers that such changes could undermine the Act's benefits of increased openness, accountability and trust in the work of public authorities.

Open Source Software

Signed Early Day Motion 179 Software in Schools 21 November 2006

That this House congratulates the Open University and other schools, colleges and universities for utilising free and open source software to deliver cost-effective educational benefit not just for their own institutions but also the wider community; and expresses concern that Becta and the Department for Education and Skills, through the use of outdated purchasing frameworks, are effectively denying schools the option of benefiting from both free and open source software and the value and experience small and medium ICT companies could bring to the schools market.

Communications Data Bill

Has asked questions of the bill in Parliament. Has a personal interest in the misuse of communications data by third-parties.



2007-06-12 - Kable - MP proposes stronger FoI
Summary: A ten minute rule bill will press for tougher Freedom of Information legislation. The Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, to be introduced on 12 June 2007, will seek to remove the veto which permits ministers to overrule decisions of the Information Commissioner's Office and Information Tribunal. ... Led by Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrat local government spokesperson, the bill's introduction comes at a potentially critical time for the aAct. ... The bill has the support of FoI campaigners Norman Baker MP and Simon Hughes MP
2007-05-21 - Liberal Democrats - Liberal Democrats pledge to continue the battle over the Freedom of Information Bill
Author: Simon Hughes MP
Summary: The Liberal Democrats today pledged to take their battle over the Freedom of Information Bill both to the House of Lords and across the country. Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary, Simon Hughes MP said: "We will be contacting all members of the House of Lords and ask them to use their judgement and their votes to block this bill." "We will also start a public campaign in all parts of the country where Conservative and Labour MPs have voted to support these reductions on the public’s right to know, ensuring that nobody can be in any doubt as to who must take responsibility for these dangerous plans making progress."
2007-05-18 - Liberal Democrats - Freedom of Information Bill marks shameful day for Commons
Author: Simon Hughes MP
Summary: Commenting on today’s debate on the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill in the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary, Simon Hughes MP said:"This has been a shameful day for the House of Commons - MPs should set an example of open government, not apply it to everybody but ourselves." "David Maclean’s Bill and the way it has got through the Commons will clearly diminish respect for Parliament. But the battle will go on and hopefully the Lords will deliver us from this terrible mistake." "I hope the public will make their views very clear to the MPs who supported the Bill and to the next Prime Minister that this is absolutely the wrong direction for open, accountable government."
2007-04-26 - Liberal Democrats - Underhand Freedom of Information must be stopped
Author: Simon Hughes MP
Summary: Speaking ahead of the resumed debate on the controversial Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill expected tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary, Simon Hughes MP said:"Things are looking good in our attempt to stop this stake through the heart of the Freedom of Information Act." "This underhand Bill would fundamentally undermine Parliament’s transparency. Democratic institutions have an obligation to be accountable and the right to information is a key part of this." "I am confident there will be a good number of opponents to this Bill and we have a better than evens chance of preventing it from progressing any further progress." "More and more MPs have realised that the Government and opposition front benches are conspiring to kill freedom of information." "The Freedom of Information Amendment Bill now has over 70 amendments tabled and there will likely be more." "There is now one other Bill which is to be debated first - the Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Bill. This Bill has already had one new clause and six amendments tabled with the possibility of yet more to be added."
2007-04-24 - The Register - Attempt to limit FOI will be heard again on Friday
Summary: A controversial bill seeking to exempt members of parliament from the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act will be heard again this Friday. The proposal was the subject of a five-hour filibuster in Parliament last week. ... One of the opponents of the bill, Simon Hughes of the Liberal Democrats, said last week: "It would be extremely bad politics and extremely bad law for us at this stage - when parliament is hardly the most well regarded institution in the land – to seek to exempt the Commons and the Lords from the FOI Act. The public want to know what we are doing and in particular they want to know how we spend money on their behalf. It would be regarded as beyond acceptable if we said you can't know some or all of the information about what we do."
2001-11-07 - The Register - Home Office extends online snooping laws
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: The Home Office is to perform an about-face on what the authorities are entitled to do with electronic communications data captured through the RIP Act. ... Simon Hughes, LibDems home affairs spokesman, told The Guardian: "We understand the argument for data retention for specific purposes under terror legislation for the period of an emergency. There is a different argument, with much less justification, for general powers from now, in theory, until eternity."