Published: Wed, January 31, 2018

Labour bids to force full publication of leaked Brexit impact paper

Labour bids to force full publication of leaked Brexit impact paper

Its Humble Address motion tabled for Wednesday is the same method that bound the Government to publish its earlier impact assessments on Brexit.

Addressing the House of Commons on Tuesday, Minister Steve Baker described the leak as a "selective interpretation" of government analysis and an attempt to undermine Britain's exit from the EU.

Labour has called for it to be be published and debated in Parliament.

The move follows the leak of the study, drawn up for the Department for Exiting the European Union, which concluded the United Kingdom economy would lose out, whatever Brexit deal the Government struck with the EU.

The difference is that in November, the government argued that the analysis was high quality, only to be embarrassed when it appeared.

Mr Baker told the Commons that civil service forecasts were "always wrong".

But as the government tried to distance itself from the paper by qualifying that it was only part of a wide-ranging and evolving analysis of Brexit, opposition lawmakers, and some even in the ruling Conservative Party, said enough was enough.

The documents said growth over the next 15 years could be up to 8% lower than if the United Kingdom stayed in the EU.

One Conservative MP, Antoinette Sandbach, told Mr Baker she took exception to being told it was not in the national interest for her to see the document.

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The Buzzfeed article revealed that the government does indeed have regionialised impact assessment for each region, something that was previously denied by Brexit secretary, David Davis.

The analysis, prepared for the Department for Exiting the European Union, concluded growth would be lower under a series of potential scenarios, according to a leaked copy seen by the BuzzFeed News website.

The spokesman said the "partial" work had been completed by the Brexit ministry.

Even if the United Kingdom was able to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement, it estimated growth would be down 5% over the next 15 years.

All scenarios assume a new deal with the US.

The analysis, obtained by BuzzFeed News, finds that growth would fall between 2% and 8% over the next 15 years, depending on what kind of divorce deals Britain negotiates with the European Union.

Ministers were reportedly only being allowed to examine the document in a single room, with no copies being shared or distributed, and its leak is likely to further sow division.

At the same time, the source said that the report includes "a significant number of caveats and is hugely dependent on a wide range of assumptions".

Speaking about pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May, he criticised Tory MPs involved with negative briefings, saying "nothing that would happen would change the parliamentary arithmetic". If there is evidence to the contrary, we need to see and consider that too.

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