Min­is­ter pro­vided ‘un­der­whelm­ing’ re­port on Brexit

Western Mail - - NEWS - An­drew Wood­cock news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

THE doc­u­ments handed over to Par­lia­ment by Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis last month are “un­der­whelm­ing” and do not amount to an as­sess­ment of the likely im­pact on the UK econ­omy of with­drawal from the EU, a se­nior peer has said.

Former se­nior civil ser­vant Lord Jay of Ewelme, act­ing chair of the House of Lords EU Com­mit­tee, said he would have ex­pected a “proper” im­pact as­sess­ment to be con­ducted to in­form the Gov­ern­ment of the likely effect of Brexit on dif­fer­ent sec­tors of in­dus­try.

There were calls from op­po­si­tion MPs for Mr Davis to be sacked af­ter he ad­mit­ted to the Com­mons Ex­it­ing the EU Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day that his de­part­ment had car­ried out no for­mal im­pact as­sess­ments for the Gov­ern­ment’s Brexit plans.

But Mr Davis ap­peared to have dodged threats of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­leged con­tempt of Par­lia­ment, af­ter the com­mit­tee ruled that he had ad­e­quately ful­filled the terms of a Com­mons mo­tion re­quir­ing him to hand over 58 sec­toral im­pact as­sess­ments be­lieved to have been drawn up by the De­part­ment for Ex­it­ing the EU.

The com­mit­tee split on party lines, with 10 Con­ser­va­tives and one Demo­cratic Union­ist agree­ing that Mr Davis had com­plied with Par­lia­ment’s re­quire­ments by hand­ing over 850 pages of anal­y­sis of sec­tors of the UK econ­omy, given that no im­pact as­sess­ments of the kind de­scribed in the mo­tion ex­isted.

Eight op­po­si­tion MPs voted that the Brexit Sec­re­tary had not com­plied with the mo­tion.

The 850-page cache of doc­u­ments, handed to cross-party com­mit­tees in the Com­mons and Lords but not yet pub­lished, are un­der­stood to de­scribe ex­ist­ing con­di­tions in var­i­ous sec­tors of the econ­omy, but not to fore­cast how they will be af­fected by Brexit.

Lord Jay told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme that his com­mit­tee was “go­ing through them pretty sys­tem­at­i­cally now”.

“They are quite in­ter­est­ing but they are pretty un­der­whelm­ing,” said Lord Jay. “They don’t re­ally in­clude an im­pact as­sess­ment, as far as I can tell.

“I would have thought there would have been a proper im­pact as­sess­ment, a proper as­sess­ment of what the im­pact of leav­ing the EU is go­ing to be on dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy.

“What we’ve got is in­ter­est­ing, and there’s a lot of good in­for­ma­tion there, but I can’t re­ally say it’s a real im­pact as­sess­ment. It’s a fairly un­der­whelm­ing re­port.”

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