John Bercow sets government Tuesday night deadline to publish secret Brexit impact papers

John bercowDan Kitwood/GettySpeaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
  • Government papers detailing the potential economic impact of Brexit must be published on Tuesday, John Bercow demands.
  • The confidential documents detail Brexit’s impact on 58 sectors, which make up 88% of the British economy.
  • MPs voted last week to force the government into publishing the papers.
  • The Conservative government refused to do so before.

The Speaker of the House of Commons has ordered the government to publish papers detailing Brexit’s potential economic impact by Tuesday evening — or explain why it hasn’t done so.

John Bercow’s call comes after Labour pressured the Conservative government to publish the papers, which provide an assessment of Brexit’s impact on 58 sectors, or 88% of the British economy.

MPs voted last Wednesday to force the government into publishing the confidential documents. Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, invoked an archaic parliamentary procedure to impose the binding vote on the government. Conservative MPs were instructed to abstain from the vote.

On Monday, Brexit Secretary David Davis asked for more time to publish the papers, but Bercow said the government should comply with the vote “very promptly indeed,” The Guardian reported.

“Failing that, I expect ministers to explain to the House before we rise tomorrow evening why they have not and when they intend to do so,” Bercow said.

Starmer told Business Insider before Wednesday’s vote that the government was making “a mockery of their claim that they want as much transparency and accountability as possible.”

The Department for Exiting the European Union, led by David Davis, previously refused to publish the assessment because it would breach their “safe space.”

Government sources said the documents would detail wider assessments of the impacts of different types of Brexit deal, and that they would not be redacted, The Times reported.

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