NORTHERN Ireland’s new Criminal Justice Minister, Maria Eagle MP, has – somewhat shamefully in my opinion – voted to give the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill a third reading. The Bill makes Members of Parliament and Lords exempt from its provisions, as well as correspondence between MPs and public authorities – although some suspect that the latter is already covered by the Data Protection Act. Surely such a ‘squalid’ Bill is not designed to hide members’ expenses from public view? Wouldn’t that be a total and utter disgrace, Ms Eagle, coming just after Gordon Brown spoke of the need for politicians to gain the public’s trust? Well, even Gordo has changed his mind from his launch speech a few days ago when he said he wanted to “build a shared national consensus for a programme of constitutional reform that strengthens the accountability of all who hold power”, now saying he won’t stand in MPs’ way to pass this cover-up Bill. What a nice Prime Minister-to-be – from Chancellor to chancer.