Parliament's Brexit watchdog is divided over a "pessimistic" report on Theresa May's plans for quitting the EU

 
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June (Source: Getty)

The Brexit-backing members of a parliamentary watchdog are understood to be protesting a "pessimistic" new report on Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for quitting the EU.

Hilary Benn's Brexit select committee is in the early stages of a report on a white paper published by the government earlier this year, but early drafts have been slammed by Leave supporters.

A Westminster source told City A.M. that Benn infuriated committee members with early work on the white paper report.

A draft running to more than 100 pages, was presented to the committee before any consultation had taken place, the source said, with members then invited to provide suggestions.

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"It was unduly pessimistic and in favour of talking about all the risks and none of the opportunities," they said.

"The Brexiteers looked at it and decided it could not be salvaged in the drafting process, and told the chairman [Benn] to either pull the work or simply inform them when it is coming to a vote. And it looks like he is going to press ahead," they added.

"You can do that as chair, and he has a majority of Remainers on the committee, but there will be a split on the report."

In spite of a narrow majority of Remain campaigners, the committee has agreed unanimous support for previous findings, including a recent call to protect the rights of EU nationals.

A spokesman for Benn declined to comment.

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