MPs welcome boost for data watchdog

26 Nov 2008 View Comments
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Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas is getting a pay rise

Justice secretary Jack Straw has defended the increase to the salary of Information Commissioner Richard Thomas as merited by a significant expansion of the his responsibilities matched by an increase in the importance and status of the post.

MPs agreed without a vote to raise his pay from £98,000 to £140,000, backdated to last November, on the day Straw announced a considerable increase in the power and responsibilities of the Commissioner's Office.

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For the Liberals, Simon Hughes praised Thomas in particular for standing up to home secretary Jacqui Smith's plan for a huge database of electronic traffic data as "a step too far for the British way of life".

Shadow Tory justice minister Nick Herbert said Thomas "has certainly demonstrated the independence that the House requires" and "has had to deal not least with the serial data losses over which the government has presided".

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