Labour to stage Commons vote forcing Government to hand over Brexit assessments

Posted On: 
31st October 2017

Labour will stage a Commons vote in a bid to force the Government to hand over 58 reports into how Brexit will affect the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer
PA Images

The Department for Exiting the EU has said the impact assessments should remain under wraps in order to give civil servants a "safe space" to devise policy.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the documents must be released to provide "transparency and accountability".

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He said Labour will use ancient parliamentary procedure to force a binding vote which could lead to ministers handing the reports over to the cross-party Brexit Committee.

Its members would then decide whether the contents should be made publicly available.

Mr Starmer said: "Ministers cannot keep withholding vital information from Parliament about the impact of Brexit on jobs and the economy.

"Labour recognises the importance of protecting the Government’s negotiating position with the European Union.

"However, that does not give Ministers the right to impose a blanket ban on publishing any information whatsoever about the economic impact of Brexit.

"At the start of the negotiations, Theresa May said everyone needed certainty during the Brexit process and that the vote to leave was a vote for Parliament to take back control.

"If those words meant anything at all, then she should stop side-lining Parliament and give MPs the information they need to properly hold the Government to account in what are undoubtedly the most important negotiations since the Second World War.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis told the Lords EU Committee yesterday that the Government would not be publishing the impact assessment reports, insisting it could harm the UK's negotiating position.

But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Government must come clean on the impact Brexit will have on people’s jobs and livelihoods.

"It’s a poor excuse to say the secrecy is needed for negotiations. The EU27 will have the same information already from work by their own officials. The only people being kept in the dark are the British public.

"The longer that ministers hide the truth, the more people will believe it’s to bury bad news."