Waterways Minister Richard Benyon today apologised to MP Duncan Hames for giving him an incorrect answer to his question about whether the new Canal and River Trust would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Minister had said that the charity would be subject to the FOI Act in the same way as BW is now. Mr Hames had asked the question in the House of Commons on October 13 because some of his constituents had approached him with concerns about the accountability of the new waterways charity. In a letter to Duncan Hames, Mr Benyon said he had given a premature answer and that the question would not be decided until DEFRA had considered the responses to the second consultation on the new waterways charity which covered the issue of Freedom of Information.
The Waterways Minister said he would put the record straight by laying a Written Ministerial Statement and that he had copied his letter to the Speaker. A number of boat dwellers are registered to vote in Mr Hames’ constituency, which covers the K and A from Dundas to Hilperton. We understand that BW employees have also been contacting MPs with their concerns about the new waterways charity.