The longer the Brexit process has gone on the more it has become clear that no-one could have known the true consequences of a vote to leave at the time of the referendum.
Even now we still do not know many of the fundamental facts about the costs and risks of leaving the EU. We know it will cost money – but we don’t know how much. We know it will damage trade, yet we are in the dark about how badly. And we know it is already driving up prices and even taxes in the UK, but we still don’t know how bad this will get.
To make matters worse Theresa May and her government are deliberately suppressing the results of their own studies into the impact of Brexit on Britain.
Ministers have confirmed they have used taxpayers’ money to produce 50 “impact studies” that look, sector-by-sector, at the likely impact of leaving the EU on the economy and society. But they are refusing to publish any of them.
Earlier this month backbench MPs David Lammy and Seema Malhotra published a letter to Brexit Secretary David Davis calling on him to release the reports.
Their letter – co-signed by over 120 of their fellow MPs – stated:
“Without access to the latest and best possible analysis and research, Parliament is unable to properly scrutinise the Government’s plan for Brexit and Members of Parliament will be unable to fully contribute to an evidence-led debate on policy.”
Since the letter was handed into David Davis’s department on 11 October Best for Britain has been rallying support amongst MPs of all parties for the idea that the impact studies should be published. Our supporters across the country have been actively lobbying their MPs to support publication.
As a result the number of MPs supporting the release of the studies has climbed above 170, including every MP from the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru. The former Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP has also called for the studies to be released.
The government say that they won’t publish the studies because they might weaken ministers’ hands in any negotiations. But if Theresa May and her team really believe “no deal is better than a bad deal” that argument must be empty.
Both claims cannot be right: if walking away with no deal is stronger than the worst the negotiations could deliver, why should we fear releasing the studies? And the conclusion must be that no deal is actually going to be a lot worse than no Brexit.
In reality it looks more and more like the government are suppressing the reports and denying all and every freedom of information request about them because they know they expose the reality of the risks and costs of leaving. Ministers want to keep us all in the dark about just how damaging their plans for Brexit could be.
We cannot let them get away with this. That is why we are today publishing the updated list of MPs who have called for the studies to be released and are calling on the public to increase the pressure on all MPs to get these reports into the public domain.
You can support our petition calling for publication – and at the same time email your MP, either to call on them to sign or to thank them for their endorsement – at our website now.