Green Party MEP launches new legal challenge for release of Brexit studies

The Department for Exiting the EU is resisting calls to publish findings on the predicted damage of leaving the EU [Image: Reuters].

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP for the South West, writes:

There have been letters, Freedom of Information requests, Parliamentary questions and, earlier this week, a letter signed by 120 cross-party MPs – all demanding that the government release studies they are sitting on about the economic impacts of Brexit.

But David Davis has remained bullish, refusing to publish the findings.

So, I have teamed up with Jolyon Maugham QC, a barrister and director of the The Good Law Project, to demand the Government release these studies within 14 days or face legal action. If the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Treasury fail to do so, we will issue judicial review proceedings before the High Court, which would seek to compel the Government to release them.

The form this challenge takes has been recognised by the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. While the outcome cannot be predicted with certainty, we have the benefit of advice and representation from experts in the field of information law.

We are after two classes of study. First, those mentioned by David Davis MP to the Commons Committee on Exiting the EU on 14 December last year, when he acknowledged that there were 57 studies covering 85 per cent of the economy: everything except sectors not affected by international trade. DExEU has repeatedly promised to publish the list of studies “shortly” – but has never done so.

Secondly, we want details of a report prepared by the Treasury comparing the predicted economic damage of Brexit with the potential economic benefits of alternative free-trade agreements.

But will it work?

The Conservatives, since 2010, seem the most reluctant government in the history of the UK. It seems someone is having to take the Tories to court every five minutes because they won’t release information that, it is self-evident, we need to see.

But they still go through with their plans, no matter what the result.

So why not just cut out the costly business of going to court and assume the logical?

If the Brexit studies being hidden by David Davis, Theresa May and the rest of that chamber of horrors we call the Conservative government said anything optimistic, they would have plastered the findings all over the front pages of the Daly MailThe Sun, The Times, The Torygraph, The Express and any other mainstream media outlet they could persuade.

They haven’t.

So the Brexit studies show leaving the EU will harm the UK’s economy – possibly cripplingly.

Let’s just go with that, and if the Tories want to dispute it, they’ll have to publish – won’t they?

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1 thought on “Green Party MEP launches new legal challenge for release of Brexit studies

  1. NMac

    Their crimes are hidden behind a cloak of secrecy. I hope this Judicial Review is successful. The fact that Davis is determined not to release the information is evidence of what is contained in the files. If it was even remotely positive information it would be plastered over the front pages of the right-wing press.

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