Friday, July 28, 2006

So we emerge, blinking, into the sunlit uplands of the Parliamentary recess. That lovely time when MPs are not - repeat not - on holiday, but 'busy in their constituencies' making all of our lives better, whilst their staff suddenly find that the scope for more efficient and productive work increases in direct proportion to the opportunity for an uninterrupted lunch and civilized working hours.

Anyway, that aside, I should report on the latest twists in the Greenwich/ Casino/Prescott saga. Firstly, I would recommend reading Boris Johnson's inimitable take on the whole thing - here, which I naturally couldn't possibly endorse, but which I think is a fair view and probably representative of the frustration most Britons feel about the whole Dome pantomime.

Back in Greenwich, I have an answer (of sorts) from the Leader of the Council, Chris Roberts, on the subject of the PWC report into the Dome (see previous posts). The full version of my written question to the Council meeting and his reply, are:

"Cllr Fletcher: Does the Leader have any objection in principle to the release of the main part of the PWC report into the potential effects of a regional casino on the Borough, subject to the removal of the limited [confidential] information contained within in?

"Reply: This is not a matter for me. The Head of Legal services wrote to Councillor Fletcher on 11 July explaining that, as information in the report relates to third parties, it is necessary to consult with them so as to determine whether an exemption applies to disclosing that information under the Freedom of Information Act. Further, as PWC state that information in the report is their property and confidential to them, it is necessary to seek their consent to disclosure."

Hmmm. A very legalistic answer, which I'm guessing shows the influence of over-cautious officers on Cllr Roberts' pen, but useful to see anyway. So the wait goes on...

Later in the Council meeting on Wednesday we debated (and passed) a Labour motion in support of the Casino bid. I didn't speak - perhaps I should have done, but my colleagues had made most of the points I would have made, and given it was the last item on the agenda on a very hot evening, I didn't want to add to the hot air unnecessarily.

So, I await the response on the PWC report with interest. If disclosure is refused, whose call will it be? Greenwich's, PWC's or Mr Anschutz's ?

No comments: