Monday 27 November 2017 / 1:39 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Labour urge ministers to meet deadline for releasing Brexit impact studies

Keir
Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, has urged ministers
to meet the deadline for handing over the 58 Brexit impact studies to MPs tomorrow
[Tuesday 28 November] or risk being held in
contempt of Parliament.

Earlier
this month, MPs unanimously backed a Labour motion for the economic impact
studies to be released to the Select Committee for
Exiting the European Union. MPs on that Select Committee will then have the
right to review the impact studies and determine what information is put in the
public domain.

The
Speaker of the House of Commons said motions of the kind tabled by Labour “have
in the past been seen as effective or binding.”

Responding
to the decision, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, said on Tuesday 7 November: “The Government is committed to providing the
information to the Committee as soon as possible. I have made plain to the
House authorities that we currently expect this to be no more than three weeks
[Tuesday 28 November].”

If
ministers fail to respond
to Labour’s motion, then they risk falling in
contempt of Parliament.

Parliament’s
rulebook Erskine May states that “actions which…obstruct or impede” the Commons
“in the performance of its functions, or are offences against its authority or
dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate commands.”

Labour
is calling for the papers to be handed over, unredacted before Parliament rises
tomorrow.

Keir Starmer said:

“There
is huge anxiety across the country about the impact of the Government’s Brexit
approach on jobs and the economy.

“Labour
fully understand the importance of protecting the UK’s negotiating position
with the European Union. However, the decision agreed unanimously by MPs
earlier this month was about transparency and ensuring Parliament had the
information it needs to hold ministers to account during the Brexit process.

“Ministers
have accepted that the vote was binding and they must now respect Parliament’s
decision. That means releasing the impact studies to the Brexit Select
Committee in full and unredacted before Parliament rises on Tuesday. If
ministers fail to act then we will have no choice but to raise this matter with
the Speaker of the Commons.“