Ministers face contempt action for censoring Brexit dossier

MINISTERS finally handed over a controversial raft of key studies on the impact of leaving the European Union to MPs last night - but they've been stripped of any information that will undermine Brexit negotiations.

Those impact assessments were meant to be provided to the committee on Monday, after parliament passed a motion at the start of this month ordering the government to turn over the documents. There are many on the committee that are still fighting the referendum.

Too much "clever dickery by ministers" had backfired, the former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell tweeted.

'I think it is really rather perverse now, as some Labour members are saying, that opening up our hand to the world is in the national interest where it patently must be the reverse is true'. Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat MP, added: "This whole farce has descended into a scene straight out of Yes Minister". Ministers said they could not provide all their analysis because some of it was so sensitive that disclosing it would jeopardise Britain's position in the Brexit negotiations.

Jacob Rees-Mogg a pro-Brexit Tory MP, said parliament's vote should be considered as binding. Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit spokesman, urged the speaker to hold the government in contempt.

She said MPs must be given the full documents "and nothing less".

In response, Mr Davis says that, "as we have made clear", it is "not the case" that these analyses "exist".

But that is seemingly at odds with Davis's previous public comments.

Mr Davis tells the BBC: "We've got 50, almost 60 sectoral analyses already done".

Davis to appear in front of the Brexit committee to explain his department's actions.

Mr Davis tells MPs that these analyses offer "excruciating detail". She will not necessarily have read every single one.

"I am highly sceptical of about the accusation that anyone asking serious questions about the issues on Brexit is undermining our negotiating strategy".

MPs on the committee will today meet to decide whether to publish all or part of the key documents.

'The Government has produced sensible analysis and answered that requested.

Writing on Facebook, Peston said: "Davis and the prime minister believe that editing out such information - such as the names of companies submitting evidence and information highlighting where certain kinds of Brexit are most economically toxic - is consistent with the vote by MPs and the ruling of the speaker that these so-called impact assessments should be given to MPs". "It is important that this is understood from the start". Committee Chair Hilary Benn described this as a "matter of urgency". Policymakers need "a safe space to allow for design and deliberation to be done in private", the Brexit department said. It is not clear whether it will eventually be made public.

But Mr Bercow said he would consider a charge of contempt of parliament if Mr Davis failed to satisfy his critics.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the refusal to supply MPs with a full set of documents could amount to contempt of parliament.

Nothing else in the Secretary of State's diary is as pressing as satisfying the will of parliament, Bercow said.



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