Secret Brexit Impact Papers MUST Be Published By Government, Commons Decides

Ministers are to be forced to publish secret papers on the impact of Brexit on the UK economy after a landmark Commons defeat for the Government.

Labour hailed a major “victory for Parliament and democracy” as MPs passed an Opposition Day motion demanding that the confidential documents be handed over to a select committee.

Commons Speaker John Bercow ruled that the vote was binding on ministers and insisted that they had to respond as soon as possible.

He said that ministers could find themselves in contempt of Parliament if they refused the expressed will of the Commons.

After hours of passionate debate, Brexit minister Steve Baker decided against putting the motion to a vote amid fears that Tory rebels were set to side with Labour to demand publication.

On Monday the government published the list of 58 sectors that have been looked at, ranging from aerospace and aviation to tourism and legal services.

But it has argued that releasing them would undermine its negotiating position with the EU.

Labour used an archaic Parliamentary tactic, called ‘an Humble Address’, to force a binding vote to demand the hand-over of the confidential papers.

During the debate, Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and even Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg called for the documents to be sent to the Brexit Select Committee.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: “This is a victory for Parliament and for democracy.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the Tories to have wasted months avoiding responsible scrutiny and trying to keep the public in the dark. The reality is that it should not have taken an ancient Parliamentary procedure to get ministers to listen to common sense.

“As the Speaker has made clear, the Government cannot ignore tonight’s binding decision. David Davis must now respond to Parliament’s ruling and urgently set a date for when he will share these papers.”

Brexit negotiations are set to resume on 9 and 10 November with the UK seeking to make enough progress to persuade the EU to move talks onto future issues like trade.