In February of this year, Justice Secretary Jack Straw issued the first ministerial veto under s. 53 FOIA. The veto, which met with considerable public controversy at the time, was issued in response to an Information Tribunal decision which required disclosure of minutes of a Cabinet meeting at which the government decided to go to war in Iraq (see further my paper on this issue). Yesterday, Mr Straw announced that he was exercising his powers of veto for a second time. The new veto has been issued in respect of a decision of the Commissioner requiring disclosure of minutes of the Cabinet Ministerial Committee on devolution to Scotland and Wales and the English Regions 1997. In the public announcement of the veto, Mr Straw stated that disclosure of the information in issue would have put the convention of collective cabinet responsibility at ‘serious risk of harm’. He also stated that he considered the circumstances of the case to be exceptional. Notably, similar points had been used to justify the veto in respect of the Iraq minutes. See further the certificate and Mr Straw’s Statement of Reasons and Veto. The effect of the veto is that the appeal against the Commissioner’s decision, which was due to be heard by the Information Tribunal at the end of January 2010, will now be aborted as the effect of the veto is that the decision notice ceases to have effect. The Commissioner has today issued a statement in response to the veto. The statement expresses regret and concern that the veto was issued in circumstances where the Tribunal had yet to adjudicate on the Cabinet Office’s appeal (cf. the Iraq minutes case where the veto was issued subsequent to the tribunal’s decision). The Commissioner will in due course issue a report to Parliament on the matter.