'Serious constitutional waters’ Jacob Rees-Mogg rages at May over Brexit impact papers

Posted on Nov 28 2017 - 8:59pm by admin

The 48-year-old Conservative MP for North East Somerset has hit out after it appeared Brexit Secretary David Davis had ignored a binding parliamentary vote and only published edited-down reports on the impact leaving the European Union would have on the UK.

Jacob Rees-Mogg said the Government was “in serious constitutional waters if it doesn’t provide the full information”.

He said: “This is nothing to do with Brexit or party politics. 

“It is to do with the rights of the House of Commons. We will all be in opposition one day and it is important to remember that. 

“If you try to trample the rights of Commons in government, then when in opposition you have no means of curtailing abuses of power.”

Mr Davis said the documents do not give the entire picture, arguing the information withheld because he had “received no assurances from the [Brexit] committee regarding how any information passed will be used”.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who sits on the Brexit Committee, said: “The government is still trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Parliament and the British people.

“Ministers were ordered by MPs three weeks ago to publish these reports, but are still trying to hide the full impact of Brexit from the public.

“There is a fine line between what is commercially sensitive and what is simply politically embarrassing for the government.

“It should be up to MPs on the Brexit Committee, not David Davis, to make that call.”

The shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, said: “If the government has failed to comply with this ruling then we will not hesitate in raising this matter with the Speaker.”

Sir Keir told the BBC on Tuesday morning: “The government could be in contempt of parliament. They’re certainly treating parliament with contempt.”

Mr Davis has been battling for months with MPs after he initially refused to produce the various papers which cover 58 areas.

He initially claimed publishing them would undermine the UK’s negotiating position.

However, his hand was seemingly forced after losing a vote on a Labour motion in the House of Commons.

MPs became angry after it was apparent that instead of publishing all the information it had been condensed down into a single 850-page document with potentially sensitive information erased.

Pete Wishart, a Scottish National party MP, is set to push contempt proceedings in the Commons on Tuesday.

The Brexit department hit back at the claims. A spokesman said: “The government has satisfied the motion, providing the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee with information covering 58 sectors of the economy. We have also shared the information with the Lords EU committee.

“We have always been clear that our analysis does not exist in the form Parliament requested. We have taken time to bring together the analysis we do have in a way that meets parliament’s specific ask.”

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