Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Boris Johnson refuses to release Prince Charles letters

The Mayor's Office today refused to release correspondence between the Mayor Boris Johnson and Prince Charles.

They believe that my request falls under the following exemption in the FOI act:

Section 37 - communications with Her Majesty and honours:

Information relating to communications with Her Majesty, other members of the Royal Family or the Royal Household; and

Information relating to the conferring by the Crown of any honour or dignity.

This exemption is public interest tested.

They have given themselves another month to consider the public interest test.

Now I understand that royal correspondence would ordinarily be exempt.

But when our future King has directly involved himself in hugely sensitive planning decisions and major financial and political deals, then I think it pretty clearly falls within the public interest.

Internal Communications

The second part of my request was for all internal communications relating to Prince Charles within City Hall.

The Mayor's office are also refusing this part of the request on the basis of cost.

This is despite the fact that a similar internal request was fulfilled in relation to Brian Coleman and myself.

The Mayor's Office have given themselves until 24th February to decide whether the main part of my request falls under the public interest test.

This will be two months after I made my initial request.

Please email me at the usual address, if you can help me fight this case.

-Update- The New Statesman, Guardian and Evening Standard have all picked up on this story


Dave Cole said...

I would venture that, even if HRH had not written to Boris on Chelsea Barracks or any other planning issues and had just been exchanging pleasantries, his previous actions mean that we need to see that there has been no attempt at influencing the democratic process.


AdamB said...

Yes I think Charles gave up any right to royal privilege on these matters once he decided to become involved in politics.

If he wants to play the game, then he should play by the same rules as everyone else.

Dave Cole said...

Would it work if the FOI was phrased in a different way - how many representations have been made to City Hall regarding Chelsea Barracks, broken down by type?

AdamB said...

That's a good idea Dave. I might add that to my response.

NorthKent said...

Good luck with this one Adam.

AdamB said...

Thanks NK. I've replied to them now with further requests.