Advertisement

MPs won’t get uncensored analysis of Brexit’s economic impact

Hilary Benn is the chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee. Credit: PA

At some point today the select committee on exiting the EU will receive more than 800 pages of analysis of the impact of Brexit on 58 economic sectors.

Your excitement, I know, is barely containable.

Now although Hilary Benn and his MP colleagues on the committee will get most of what they want, I suspect they may still feel short-changed - because they will not receive any information that is either commercially sensitive or would compromise David Davis’s negotiating position in Brexit talks.

Davis and the prime minister believe that editing out such information - such as the names of companies submitting evidence and information highlighting where certain kinds of Brexit are most economically toxic - is consistent with the vote by MPs and the ruling of the speaker that these so-called impact assessments should be given to MPs.

But Benn, chairman of the select committee, believes the parliamentary vote implied that if there was any redacting to be done, it should be by him and the committee.

Davis would argue that what his officials have done is “edit” not “redact” - ie MPs will not receive blacked-out sentences, or the traditional form of redactions, but a word-processed, very lengthy analysis that simply excludes some officials’ work.

Hair-splitting that will infuriate Benn and colleagues. Probably.

Will this lead MPs to complain they haven’t received all the analysis they want and believe they deserve. Count on it.