Westminster keeping the public in the dark on Brexit

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Westminster is keeping the public and businesses in the dark about the impact of Brexit by refusing to publish the impact assessments, Plaid Cymru has said.

The Westminster Government has agreed to make an edited version of the impact assessment available to members of the Brexit Select Committee for a limited period of time.

The Welsh Government has also been given limited access to the impact assessments.

Questioning the Minister in the House of Commons Chamber earlier today, Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesperson and Member of the Brexit Select Committee, Hywel Williams asked, “what guidelines were provided to officials editing the [impact assessments] as to what should be excluded [before being shared with the Committee]?”

The Minister’s response:

“As I have made clear to the House, this information was pulled together from a range of documents. As I’ve also made clear, we have to ensure that commercially sensitive information and information that would be prejudicial to the national interest could not be at risk of being published. This has been a process of ensuring that is more information for the committee, not less.”

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesperson and member of the Brexit Select Committee, Hywel Williams MP said:

“Leaving the European Union is a monumental process - the impact of which will be made all the more profound by Westminster’s insistence on severing our economic links with the Single Market and Customs Union.

“How this will impact on people’s lives –wages, mortgages, access to public services and so on, as well as how it will impact on businesses and their access to international markets and cost of borrowing is unquestionably a matter of public interest.

“When I asked the Minister what guidelines were given to those editing the impact assessments prior to them being shared with the Committee, he said it was a matter of protecting the national interest. If Brexit is not in the national interest, the public need to know that. “The Minister’s defence, that he had “not edited or redacted” the reports but rather “collated information in a way that doesn’t include some material” would be laughable were it not meant seriously.

“The European Parliament has published its impact assessments. Perhaps the EU’s transparency and Westminster’s secrecy are indicative of the state of the negotiations and in whose hands the cards lie.

“Westminster must publish the full impact assessments not only so that politicians can do their job of scrutinising the government but so that the public and businesses can be fully informed on what damage this shambolic Westminster Government is inflicting upon them.”

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