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Posted by: 2018-11-08 15:34:40

PA Ready News UK

Tory MP Dominic Grieve

Grieve argues that withholding information would undermine Parliament, as MPs – who will take part in a crunch vote on the deal – cannot make a fully-informed decision about whether or not it would be good for the country. 

Going further, Grieve, who supports the People’s Vote campaign to secure a second referendum, also demands the Treasury reveal costings, forecasts and impact assessments of the withdrawal agreement.

The letter to Sedwill says it is “of concern that the Cabinet Office seems to be under instruction to keep from the public and from Parliament any ability to make a comparison between the deal and the arrangements we already have”. 

It goes on: “It is clearly both partial and insufficient to compare this merely against a situation in which there were ‘no deal’.

“It is a political choice by the government that Parliament should apparently be forced to choose between a ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’. There are perfectly valid arguments that this is a false choice and undermines the sovereignty of Parliament to make its own decision on the correct way forward.  

“The choice the country faces is fundamental to our future and should be made in a transparent way with access to all the necessary information. Parliament has to be involved and to fulfil that role Parliamentarians must have in front of them all of the possible information. To offer us anything else cannot meet that criteria.” 

Some Tory Remainers, such as Nicky Morgan and Antoinette Sandbach, could rebel against the government 

Under the PR plan, it was said that a vote on the deal could take place in November, but it is unclear when the UK and EU will conclude negotiations. 

The Labour Party looks set to vote down the deal as it is unlikely it will meet the key “six tests” Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has set.

Some MPs, such as Caroline Flint, Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell have hinted that they could vote with the government, however, depending on what terms May has secured. 

HuffPost UK has contacted the government for comment on Grieve’s letter. 

The Full Text

Sir Mark Sedwill - Cabinet Secretary

Cabinet Office,

70 Whitehall,

Westminster,

London SW1A 2AS

 

Dear Sir Mark

 

You will be aware of a memo published on Tuesday 6 November in a number of media outlets of a communications plan for the period before Parliament votes for any Brexit ‘deal’. It is a matter of serious concern that among the ideas included in this plan there is suggestion that the “Cabinet Office publishes its explainer of the deal and what it means for the public, comparing it to No Deal, but not to our current deal.”

 

It is of course entirely right that the Cabinet Office seeks to explain the full implications of any ‘deal’ to the British public. However it is of concern that the Cabinet Office seems to be under instruction to keep from the public and from Parliament any ability to make a comparison between the ‘deal’ and the arrangements we already have inside the European Union.

 

It is of the utmost importance that Parliament and the public can compare any arrangement the Prime Minister agrees against the benefits of European Union membership and make clear the impact that the deal proposed would have on every single area of the economy, public services, finances, security and opportunity. Indeed the Minister in charge of Brexit has previously stated that the deal Britain will secure will have the “exact same benefits” we currently enjoy.

 

It is clearly both partial and insufficient to compare this merely against a situation in which there were “no deal”.

 

Please could you therefore confirm that:

 

  • Any Government publications or briefings regarding any withdrawal agreement will include a full comparison with the current arrangements as well as with ‘no deal’.
  • The Treasury will make immediately available to Parliament any and all costings, forecasts and impact assessments of the withdrawal agreement, including comparisons with the current deal that the UK has within the European Union.
  • No information or comparison with a ‘no deal’ scenario will be released or published by any Government department or agency without also including a full and equal comparison to the current deal.  

 

It is a political choice by the Government that Parliament should apparently be forced to choose between a ‘deal’ and no deal. There are perfectly valid arguments that this is a false choice and undermines the sovereignty of Parliament to make its own decision on the correct way forward.  

 

The choice the country faces is fundamental to our future and should be made in a transparent way with access to all the necessary information. Parliament has to be involved and to fulfil that role Parliamentarians must have in front of them all of the possible information. To offer us anything else cannot meet that criteria.

 

I look forward to hearing from you on these important matters.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP

Topics: uk
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