The media are reporting that the Commons Brexit Committee has decided not to pursue David Davis for contempt of Parliament after he admitted that nobody in the Conservative government has created any ‘sectoral impact assessments’ on the effect of Brexit on the UK economy.
This is because the committee has nine Tory members and one from the DUP, the party the Tories bribed to support them, among its 18-strong membership.
And let’s not forget the Tories rigged the membership of committees to give themselves a majority, even though they had no right to do so, having failed to gain enough MPs in the general election last June.
The excuse for failing to pursue Mr Davis is pure nonsense: “In view of the statement that no impact assessments have been undertaken, the Committee considers that the Government’s response to the resolution of the House of 1 November has complied with the terms of that resolution.”
No. The resolution was written on the understanding that almost 60 assessments had been carried out – an understanding that was based on Mr Davis’s oft-repeated claims to that effect.
There would have been no such resolution if it had been known that no assessments had been made; instead the Opposition parties would have wanted to know why no work has been carried out on this subject since the Tories won the general election of May 2015 – the date when we all knew a referendum on our EU membership would be held (it was in the Tory manifesto).
So Mr Davis misled Parliament into passing that resolution. He lied to MPs in order to waste their time and that is still contempt of Parliament.
Thank goodness we still have the independent demand for contempt proceedings to take place, initiated by Labour MP David Lammy.
Lib Dem Vera Hobhouse and Pete Wishart of the SNP have also demanded action.
And you can still demand it by emailing [email protected]
David Davis is unlikely to face contempt proceedings over his failure to provide Brexit impact assessments to Parliament – because he now says they don’t exist.
The Brexit secretary has repeatedly boasted that between 50 and 58 sectoral impact assessments had been carried out by his department.
Today he claimed to the Brexit committee that they had never existed.
The committee tonight decided that since they never existed, Davis can’t be held in contempt of Parliament for not producing them.
In a statement, the committee said: “That, in view of the statement that no impact assessments have been undertaken, the Committee considers that the Government’s response to the resolution of the House of 1 November has complied with the terms of that resolution.”
The committee voted against pursuing Davis for contempt by 10 members (the Conservative members plus one DUP member) to eight.
But tonight, Labour MP David Lammy said he had independently called for Speaker John Bercow to pursue the matter.
He tweeted: “Earlier this afternoon I wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons calling on him to initiate contempt of Parliament proceedings and bring forward a debate on a resolution of contempt of Parliament after David Davis was shown to have misled and lied to Parliament.”
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