No sector-by-sector Brexit impact assessments exist, David Davis tells MPs

David Davis

In a sometimes gruelling appearance before the Brexit select committee Davis said there had been "no systematic impact assessment" of leaving the European Union, having talked previously about such apparent studies existing "in excruciating detail".Davis insisted he had been misunderstood, saying the only work undertaken comprised broad surveys of various parts of the economy, none of which included any forecasts of how Brexit might affect them.

Davis also said government plans for the possibility of leaving the European Union without a trade deal did not include any impact assessment.

Ten Conservative MPs and one DUP MP voted that Davis was not in contempt of parliament, hours after the Brexit secretary said that there had been "no systematic impact assessment" of leaving the EU.

"There's no systematic impact assessment I'm aware of", Davis told a parliamentary committee, saying it would be more appropriate to conduct such analysis later in the negotiating process.

He said: "Whoever is demanding that these reports are shown and given the light of day deserve to be lied to because they're just playing games to stop Brexit".

Despite Davis's claims regarding the usefulness of such analysis, the Irish Government has been carrying out impact assessments since the 2016 referendum on leaving the EU.

Instead the government handed over instead 850 pages of heavily-edited "sectoral analyses" setting out detail about the current position of different parts of the economy.

"We will at some stage do the best we can to quantify the effect of different negotiating outcomes as we come up to them - bearing in mind we haven't started phase two (negotiations) yet", Davis said, referring to the second phase of talks which will focus on trade.

And he told Mr Benn there was no "formal quantitative" assessment undertaken of the likely impact of leaving the customs union before the Government committed itself to the step.

'It is unbelievable that these long-trumpeted impact assessments don't even exist, meaning the government has no idea what their Brexit plans will do to the country'.

But the agreement was scuttled at the last minute when the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government, warned it wouldn't support a deal it saw as undermining Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom.

"Do not draw the conclusion that because you use the word impact, you have written an impact assessment", he said.

Opposition MPs have pressured the government into releasing a summary of its analysis to the committee.

A Labour member of the Brexit committee, Seema Malhotra, described the failure to make assessments as "a dereliction of duty". Either way, how is Davis still in his job?'

Lammy has since contacted Commons Speaker John Bercow to seek advice on beginning contempt proceedings against Davis and other ministers he believes have misled Parliament about the existence and nature of the Brexit impact studies.

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