The British government started on Thursday to demonstrate transparency, in so far as “feasible”, with the publication of a Brexit impact study including sensitive content. The British parliament had demanded this on Wednesday. On Wednesday, British MPs adopted a Labour opposition motion calling for the publication of this assessment measuring the impact of Brexit across 58 UK sectors. These sectors, which make up around 88% of the British economy, range from advertising to agriculture also including pharmaceuticals, trade, aerospace and tourism.
Owing to its sensitive nature, the Government had, up to Wednesday’s vote, refused to envisage the publication of this document. It had argued that this could weaken its position in the current Brussels negotiations upon Britain’s exit from the EU.
However on Thursday, speaking before parliament, the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, David Davis, changed his tone. He indicated having commenced discussions with the Chair of the Commons Select Committee for Exiting the European Union, Hilary Benn. These were with a view to determining how “the confidentiality of documents”, which could be published as part of this process might be managed.
Mr Davis asserted, “We will be as transparent as possible.” He moreover explained, “…these documents do not constitute a form of major programme (for Brexit implementation).” The minister went on to state, “These are data upon regulations and various market sectors that are guiding our current negotiations.”
Speaking to the press on Thursday, a government spokesman stressed the complexity of the issue, “We should not be publishing anything which might undermine our negotiating position, but we also respect the fact that parliament has a role to play in this matter, and that there was a vote upon the issue yesterday evening.”