MPs pass motion pushing government to publish Brexit studies

Courtney Goldsmith
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Labour today succeeded in pushing through a motion compelling the government to publish the 58 economic impact studies it has carried out on Brexit.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer used an archaic parliamentary rule to demand the Department for Exiting the EU (DexEU) to hand the studies, which cover industries including banking, fintech and asset management, to the Committee on Exiting the European Union.

After the debate, speaker of the House John Bercow, said motions of this kind were, in the past, seen as effective or binding.

However, Brexit minister Robin Walker suggested the government may publish the impact assessments in summary or in redacted form so as not to prejudice negotiations.

A spokesperson at DExEU said: "As the minister made clear during the debate, we take all parliamentary votes seriously and recognise that parliament does have rights relating to the publication of documents.

"Ministers also have a clear obligation not to disclose information when doing so would not be in the public interest. We will reflect on the implications of the vote and respond in due course."

Starmer said the passing of the motion was a "victory for parliament and for democracy".

“David Davis must now respond to parliament’s ruling and urgently set a date for when he will share these papers," he said.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of 13 foreign chambers of commerce in the UK found that 82 per cent of foreign businesses said they are either “not very” or “not at all confident” that a positive outcome for the UK will be achieved from the Brexit negotiations by March 2019. Just one in eight, or 13 per cent, took an optimistic view.

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