Labour demands Brexit studies release

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Labour is seeking to up the pressure on ministers over their refusal to release a series of Brexit impact studies.

The government has confirmed that 58 reports looking at different sectors of the economy have been prepared.

But it is resisting calls to publish them, saying to do so would undermine the UK’s negotiating position.

On Wednesday Labour will use what it calls an “ancient, but still effective” Parliamentary tool to force the government’s hand.

A “humble address”, tabled by shadow Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer, would request the Queen to direct Brexit Secretary David Davis to release the documents.

The vote will take place during Labour’s opposition day debate in the Commons.

Sir Keir said: “This debate is about transparency and accountability.

“Ministers cannot keep withholding vital information from Parliament about the impact of Brexit on jobs and the economy.”

The Labour Brexit spokesman recalled Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge in January to provide businesses with “as much certainty as possible” during the Brexit process.

On Monday the government published the list of 58 sectors that have been looked at, ranging from aerospace and aviation to tourism and legal services.

Some Conservative MPs, as well as opposition parties, have been calling for them to be released.

But Mr Davis set out the government’s stance in evidence to the House of Lords EU Committee on Tuesday.

“There was a House of Commons vote in December of last year where we said that we are not required to release anything which undermines the negotiation or the national interest frankly, or the negotiating stance of the British government,” he told peers. “That is the reasoning behind it.”

Brexit negotiations are set to resume on 9 and 10 November with the UK seeking to make enough progress to persuade the EU to move talks onto future issues like trade.

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