‘Section 35(1)(a) – information relating to the formulation or development of government policy.
Hold on a second. Doesn’t the Bilderberg official website (www.bilderbergmeetings.org) state:
“…no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”
But even if there was any doubt that the 35 (1)(a) exemption would hold, Section 36 (2)(b)(i) would cover it. This exemption states:
Section 36 (2)(b)(i) – covering the free and frank provision of advice.
It goes onto state on the second and third paragraph of page 4, “Some of the information in the readout from the Chancellor’s discussions also contains elements which are intended to inform future Government policy.”’
Since 2011 I’ve been locked in a battle with HM Treasury over George Osborne’s attendance at the conference in St.Moritz, Switzerland. Rather than tell me they don’t hold that information (which is what I was expecting), whoever replied to me, probably an uninformed intern, told me they DO hold information relating to the Bilderberg meeting.
For those who aren’t aware, the Freedom of Information Act is probably the most important piece of legislation in the country, if not the world. It gives the average citizen the right to access any recorded information ranging from local government files to environmental documents. The list is literally endless. I used it to see how the guy who holds the UK’s credit card spends his time away from the microscope at secret meetings in the Alps.
To cut a long story short, the maximum time that this whole process should have taken from start to finish was about six to eight months, depending on how far you take it. This time scale is within the statute for FOI requests. The body that you are asking for information from have a responsibility, by law, to provide you with this information within a set time. The Treasury did not meet this deadline. I can only imagine why they dragged their heels.
So after two years, not six months, of battling with the Treasury for this information and finally sending a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office, I received a twelve page document from the ICO outlining the reasons as to why I wasn’t allowed the information. When you aren’t allowed the information you asked for, they throw something called exemptions your way. I was thrown every exemption under the sun. They really didn’t want this information in my hands, or anyone’s hands for that matter.