Brexit Secretary David Davis could be found to be in contempt of Parliament after the latest twist in a four month battle over the release of Brexit impact assessments.

Labour will ask Commons Speaker John Bercow to rule on the issue after the Government refused to hand over the documents to the Brexit select committee without redactions – despite being ordered to do so by Parliament in a binding motion which was passed unanimously.

Brexit minister Steve Baker promised at the time that they would be delivered in full, saying there was “no suggestion of redaction” from the Government.

But in an 11th hour u-turn, the documents sent to the committee had politically and commercially sensitive information censored. 

Brexit Secretary David Davis said it was because he had “received no assurances from the committee regarding how any information passed will be used”.

In lieu of Bercow’s ruling on whether that puts him and the Government in contempt of Parliament, the next best thing is the opinion of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Whilst no fan of millionaire toffs, one has to admit that his knowledge of Parliamentary rules and procedure is unrivalled.

So, here’s what Rees-Mogg, a member of the Brexit select committee, said in Labour’s debate on the issue on November 1…

“As to the papers themselves, I have no particular view—this is, in normal circumstances, a matter for the Government—and I would have gone along with the Government had they wished to oppose the motion. But in the event that they do not, they must publish these papers to the Brexit Select Committee in full. The motion does not allow for redaction, and a happy chat across the Dispatch Box between the shadow spokesmen and the Ministers does not reduce the right of this House to see the papers…

“…The Canadian example—over Afghanistan—shows that failure to meet the requirements of this House is a breach of privilege, and there is no protection for any information that the Government have received from outside sources on the grounds of confidentiality once it is required by this House. Any agreement the Government have made is superseded by the powers of this House and cannot be challenged in any court because it is a fundamental privilege of this House that it should be guided by its own rules.”

Looks like the Government are heading for a humiliating end to a disgraceful saga…

  1. We seem to be governed by a collection of chancer’s, wide boys, liars, and toffs all thickly coated in selfishness and an eye for the main chance. whatever did we do to deserve this!

  2. Anonymous, your foolish comment doesn’t help anyone whatsoever. I might agree with you completely about the content of Rees-Mogg’s politics, money, class attitudes, assumed privilege, attitudes to abortion etc., etc. But one thing is clear – he’s a constitutionalist to the core and here is speaking entirely on constitutional grounds on serious constitutional matters for the sovereignty of Parliament and its sacrosanct character as the ultimate guarantor of the the liberty of the British people against the claimed arbitrary privilege of the executive branch (i.e the Queen and her ministers unchecked by Parliament). These were the grounds on which the civil war was fought. Do you really wish to re-establish absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings? Think a little more carefully about the true implications of what you say. And if you can’t manage that, listen for instance to what Jess Phillips MP has to say about R-M’s character and learn something from that.

  3. And Rees-Mogg is reported in the Guardian as having said the same thing today. It is not party politics, it is not Brexit, it is the rights of the House of Commons and Parliament. The Civil war ended with the King losing the argument, the war and his head.

  4. Surely an MP or a minister or even a King or a Queen has any right or authority to negate the motion of the sovereign Parliament. A civil war was fought when a King overruled the wishes of the parliament. Who is this usurper minister to act as the guardian of the parliament, when the motion was passed unopposed in the parliament, to have full sight of the Brexit impact assessment? This is a clear case of contempt of the sovereignty of the Parliament. This sovereignty of the Parliament was the most important issue on which this referendum was held. If the verdict of the referendum is held, the sovereignty of the Parliament must be upheld.

  5. Trying to describe the never ending contempt which this government heaps upon the people is surely mind-bending. But then again, they are tories, so what else can we expect !!!.

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