Redacted and edited papers on the impact of Brexit have drawn strong criticisms from both Tories and Labour
David Davis, the UK Brexit secretary, has been criticised for handing over redacted and edited papers on the impact of Brexit on the British economy.
Following a vote in the House of Commons on 1 November, the government was asked to submit the information to the Brexit select committee, chaired by Labour MP Hilary Benn, within three weeks.
The government kept saying before and after the vote that no information would be shared which would undermine the British negotiating position with the EU. In the end, it gave the select committee a file of 850 pages, but Davis had “sought not to include commercially, market and negotiation sensitive information” in the documents. He was withholding information because he had “received no assurances from the committee regarding how any information passed will be used”.
There had been no studies of the potential impact of Brexit on the British economy before the referendum.
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has warned that David Davis could be in contempt of parliament and tabled an urgent question. Robin Walker, a Brexit minister, argued that the government has complied with what the House of Commons wanted. He repeated that the sectoral reports did not exist in the form the Commons assumed.
John Bercow, the Commons speaker, hinted that MPs may get the chance to debate whether David Davis is guilty of contempt of parliament.
Hilary Benn, the committee chair, wrote to David Davis that he should appear before it “very speedily indeed”. His committee had received edited documents, which was “not in keeping” with the resolution passed by the Commons.
“The 18% decline in sterling since late 2015 largely reflects financial market participants’ judgements about the impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom. Those judgements depend on assumptions about the United Kingdom’s trading relationships after Brexit and about the transition to those arrangements.”