Rus­sell un­der fire af­ter Brexit im­pact pa­pers are with­held

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - KaTriNe bussey

Brexit Min­is­ter Mike Rus­sell has come un­der fire af­ter the Scot­tish Govern­ment was given key pa­pers on the im­pact of leav­ing the Euro­pean Union on the “ba­sis of se­crecy”.

He was pressed on the is­sue as a re­port by an eco­nom­ics think­tank re­vealed an es­ti­mated 134,000 jobs in Scot­land are sup­ported by ex­ports to the EU.

The re­search, by the Fraser of Al­lan­der In­sti­tute at Strath­clyde Univer­sity, said this meant al­most 6% of to­tal em­ploy­ment in Scot­land is “sup­ported by de­mand cur­rently driven by ex­ports to the EU”.

In re­sponse, Mr Rus­sell re­peated calls for the UK Govern­ment to “change course away from a hard Brexit” and keep Bri­tain in the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket

“This re­port shows the threat Brexit poses to jobs and the risks to some of the most im­por­tant sec­tors of our econ­omy, fur­ther high­light­ing why I be­lieve con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship is cru­cial for our eco­nomic fu­ture,” he said.

The Brexit Min­is­ter, how­ever, ac­cused of with­hold­ing other was key doc­u­ments on the im­pact of leav­ing the EU from both MSPs and the pub­lic.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has con­firmed it re­ceived an 850-page dossier from the UK Govern­ment on Mon­day, which con­tains de­tails about the im­pact of leav­ing the EU on 58 dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy.

Mr Rus­sell con­firmed to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment’s Fi­nance and Con­sti­tu­tion Com­mit­tee the doc­u­ment had been handed over to the Scot­tish Govern­ment “on the un­der­stand­ing that we would not pub­lish it”.

He told MSPs: “I think in those cir­cum­stances cer­tainly we are not go­ing to pub­lish it.”

But Green co-leader Pa­trick Harvie ques­tioned the de­ci­sion to “ac­cept that in­for­ma­tion from the UK Govern­ment on the ba­sis of se­crecy”.

He told Mr Rus­sell: “I am slightly dis­turbed by the im­pli­ca­tion of your de­ci­sion to ac­cept this in­for­ma­tion on the ba­sis that you will with­hold it from par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny and from pub­lic scru­tiny.”

The Brexit Min­is­ter said he wanted the in­for­ma­tion to be made pub­lic – but stressed that was a mat­ter for the UK Govern­ment, not min­is­ters in Holy­rood.

UK Brexit Min­is­ter David Davis was forced to re­lease the im­pact re­port to the Brexit Se­lect Com­mit­tee fol­low­ing a House of Com­mons mo­tion. The pa­pers have also been handed to the UK’s de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions.

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