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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50197502
  • Date: 16 March 2010
  • Public Authority: Cabinet Office
  • Summary: The complainant asked the Cabinet Office for information relating to the award of a working peerage to Michael, now Lord, Ashcroft, in March 2000. The information sought by the complainant relates to the undertaking given by Lord Ashcroft to take up residence in the UK prior to the award of his peerage. The complainant stressed that he did not want information relating to the suitability of Lord Ashcroft for the award; merely information which relates to his “domicility” and tax status. The Cabinet Office confirmed that it held information relevant to the complainant’s request but determined that it should be withheld in reliance on the exemptions contained in sections 37(1)(b), 40(2) and 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”). The Commissioner has decided that the Cabinet Office was wrong to rely on the exemptions provided by sections 37(1)(b), 40(2), 40(4) and 41 in order to withhold all of the information relevant to this request. The Commissioner finds that the disclosure of some limited information is warranted to serve the public interest in relation to section 37(1)(b) of the Act. He has also found that sections 40(2), 40(4) and 41 were not appropriately applied in respect of the limited information the Commissioner has identified for disclosure. In consequence of this finding the Commissioner has determined that the Cabinet Office breached section 1(1)(b) of the Act and he requires it to disclose information which is described in the confidential annex which is sent only to the Cabinet Office. The Commissioner has also found that the Cabinet Office breached sections 10(1) of the Act and 17(1) of the Act.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]