, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Theresa May’s minority Conservative government was in crisis after Parliament ordered her to release 58 secret studies into the economic effects of Brexit – and her ministers refused to say whether they would agree to the demand.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Exiting the EU, Keir Starmer, used an antiquated procedure called a “humble address”, in which the Queen is asked to direct that the documents – “sectoral impact assessments” – must be released.

As this was an Opposition motion, the government refused to allow Conservatives to vote on it. Several prominent Tories including Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston had spoken in favour of releasing the documents, prompting accusations that Mrs May knew she would lose the vote – and has lost control of the Parliamentary process of exiting the EU.

It meant the motion, for the assessments to be released to the Commons’ Brexit select committee for scrutiny, passed unanimously.

Independent Parliamentary clerks delivered a bombshell: The decision is binding on the government. That is to say that the governent must now deliver the documents or face the possibility of being found in contempt of Parliament.

And the Commons’ Speaker, John Bercow, said he would consider “carefully” any representations alleging contempt if the documents were not delivered promptly.

“I would consider that matter most carefully,” he said. “The question of time, in both the context of the decision taken by the House tonight and the wider context of public policy, is an important question, and yes, it does form part of the equation that the Chair would have to address.”


So, what happens now? Twitter has been a flurry of activity:

If Tom Newton Dunn’s tweet is accurate, then there could be more angry scenes as redacting the documents would be denying the will of Parliament and the government could still be facing allegations of contempt.

Last word – for now – should go to Dennis Skinner, who ended the debate by asking the Speaker: “I know that Mr Speaker likes to reply to points of order, so I will just throw him one. He and I have been here a long time, so, like me, does he feel that the Government are dying on their feet?”

Mr Bercow did not answer – perhaps because the answer is obvious.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: