Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Thursday, 15 November 2012

Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill 1

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs she would look at the Royal exemption in the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill and give the objections of the Finance Committee "very full and very serious attention before bringing forward amendments".

As it stands the bill would keep all communications between ministers and senior members of the Royal Family secret.

Ms Sturgeon was leading the first stage debate on the bill on 15 November 2012.

She said she recognised the Finance Committee were strongly critical of the Royal exemption and heard and recognised the strength of feeling on the issue.

The deputy first minister called on the parliament to back the general principles of the bill, which it did unanimously at decision time.

Finance Committee convener Kenneth Gibson said the committee was seeking the removal of the Royal exemption.

Paul Martin, Labour's parliamentary business manager, said: "This legislation is a feeble attempt by the government to make them look like they're doing something" and that "it lacks ambition."

However Mr Martin says he supported the legislation at this stage as long as "significant amendments" were brought forward at stage 2.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Gavin Brown said there was no need for "significant surgery to our freedom of information legislation" and said the Conservatives would support the general principles of the bill.


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