It’s nice of Commons Speaker John Bercow to clear this up for us.
In saying that David Davis and other Brexit ministers could have clarified whether Brexit impact assessments existed – and prevented the misconception that they did – but that these people were not in Contempt of Parliament for having misled other MPs, he can only be implying one thing:
Mr Davis and other ministers were too stupid to understand what was being said to them.
Otherwise, they would have known they needed to clarify the matter. If they had understood, and withheld the information, they would have been in Contempt.
It is also kind of Mr Bercow to clarify that the Tories and the single DUP member in the Brexit Committee who ruled that they would not pursue Mr Davis for Contempt are corrupt.
He said it was “regrettable” that the Brexit secretary had taken much longer to supply what material did exist, and that he had “redacted” information unilaterally when he had been ordered not to do so – but that he had to give weight to the committee’s decision, dictated by the votes of the DUP and Tory members.
If the committee had used these reasons to complain about contempt, it seems he was saying he would have started proceedings. But the committee did not, because the Conservatives have engineered a false majority on it, that is undeserved after the general election last June, and those members made a decision based on party loyalty rather than the evidence.
As Speaker, Mr Bercow cannot comment on such matters directly. But the message is clear to all those who are able to put the information together.
Here‘s The Guardian‘s record of the Speaker’s announcement:
David Davis has escaped the possibility of being held in contempt of parliament over the non-existence of Brexit impact assessment papers, but was criticised by the Speaker, John Bercow, for being unclear to MPs when he discussed the matter.
Bercow, giving a rare public rebuke to a minister, also told the Commons it was “most regrettable” that Davis had taken so long to hand papers over to the Brexit select committee, and that he had redacted information from them.
Addressing MPs on Thursday Bercow said “several” members had alleged contempt by Davis and other ministers over the fate of the impact assessments, and that he had discussed the matter with the clerk of the Commons.
Bercow said: “Ministers could, with advantage, have been considerably clearer in their statements, particularly challenging lines of questioning in select committees, which were based upon a genuine misconception.
“However, from the evidence which I have seen to date I have concluded that the test that I am bound to apply, that there is an arguable case that there has in this matter been a contempt of the house, has not been met in this case.”
Bercow said other MPs had written to him to seek a ruling on whether Davis was in contempt of the 1 November motion by not handing over actual impact assessments.
He again rebuked Davis, but noted that the Brexit select committee had last week voted to not seek a contempt motion against him.
The Speaker said: “While it was most regrettable that the secretary of state – a point I made to him privately but I now state publicly – unilaterally excised some material from the paper which he provided, and that it took so long to provide the papers, I also feel bound to pay due attention to the formally recorded view of the committee that the secretary of state had complied with the order of 1 November.”
A contempt of parliament had again not taken place, Bercow said.
Mr Davis has, however, been punished for another matter: Warwick University Conservative Association has sacked him as honorary chairman – for being “unworkable” and “uncooperative”.
Here‘s the story:
David Davis will be sacked as honorary chairman of a university Conservative association because he is “so unworkable”, one of its members has revealed on live radio.
The Brexit Secretary failed to attend any meetings of the Warwick University Conservative Association – where he was a student – despite once using the university to launch an unsuccessful Tory leadership bid.
Rhal Ssan, internal affairs secretary for the association, let slip on air that Mr Davis was being sacked from his honorary post for being so uncooperative.
He told BBC Radio 5Live: “With David Davis, it’s actually a funny story – he’s our honorary chairman at the University of Warwick Conservative Association, and we’ve found him actually quite unworkable.
“He’s never been to any of our events. We’ve invited him constantly and we’re actually sacking him now because he’s so unworkable.
So it seems Mr Bercow’s comments are perceptive, regarding Mr Davis’s behaviour.
If he is like that habitually, then how can we expect any better behaviour in his professional life?
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