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Secret papers show extent of senior royals’ veto over bills

Secret papers show extent of senior royals’ veto over bills

The extent of the Queen and Prince Charles‘s secretive power of veto over new laws has been exposed after Downing Street lost its battle to keep information about its application secret.

Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals’ little-known power to consent to or block new laws. They also reveal the power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation relating to decisions about the country going to war.

The internal Whitehall pamphlet was only released following a court order and shows ministers and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles in greater detail and over more areas of legislation than was previously understood.

“There has been an implication that these prerogative powers are quaint and sweet but actually there is real influence and real power, albeit unaccountable,” said John Kirkhope, the legal scholar who fought the freedom of information case to access the papers. Read more.

Robert Booth | The Guardian | 15th January 2013

Delays in Dementia treatment

GPs are refusing to send patients for crucial tests to spot dementia because they believe there is no point, according to the Health Secretary.Jeremy Hunt blames shockingly low diagnosis rates on a ‘grim fatalism’ among doctors coupled with an ignorance of symptoms.

His comments came as figures revealed nearly 400,000 dementia sufferers in Britain have never been given a formal diagnosis. The statistics obtained by the Alzheimer’s Society also found some NHS trusts are spotting only a third of all cases.

Using Freedom of information requests, the Alzheimer’s Society asked every primary care trust and health authority for the numbers of patients diagnosed for dementia last year. Read more.

Sophie Borland | The Daily Mail | 15th January 2013

‘Give public access to private firm data’

Holyrood must allow ordinary people to check up on private firms delivering public services, campaigners urged today on the eve of a major debate.

The Campaign for Freedom of Information Scotland pleaded with an “unwilling” SNP cabinet to back a major law change that would compel ministers to routinely expand the list of bodies subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

The FOI Act allows any person to request information about a public body’s finances, policy or activities. But the campaign’s co-convenor Carole Ewart said today the Act had failed to keep up with soft-shoe privatisation. Read more.

Rory MacKinnon | Morning Star | 14th January 2013

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