Brexit select committee call for answers about government’s Yellowhammer documents

Michael Gove answers questions at a select committee meeting. Photograph: PA.

Michael Gove answers questions at a select committee meeting. Photograph: PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The House of Commons' Brexit select committee have called on Michael Gove to answer questions on the government's Yellowhammer documents.

Six-pages of information relating to Operation Yellowhammer, a secret Whitehall dossier outlining the disruption the UK could face in the event of a no-deal Brexit, were released by the gvoernment last week after a demand by MPs.

But the information provided have left more questions than answers.

For instance, the papers the released by the government were called "reasonable worst case scenario", whereas a version obtained by the Sunday Times was called "base scenario".

Labour MP Hilary Benn, chair of the Commons Select Committee on Exiting the EU, is now urging Michael Gove, in his role as the cabinet minister responsible for no-deal preparations, to answer questions surrounding the documents.

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In a letter, Benn said: "I would be grateful if you could explain why the document we received is entitled the 'reasonable worst case scenario', whereas it has been reported that a very similar if not identical version obtained by the Sunday Times was entitled the 'base scenario'.

"Could you set out and explain any difference between the two documents?"

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Benn also called on Gove to release papers he previously told the committee he would about revised assessments for a no-deal Brexit.

He wrote: "You explained in your letter that the Operation Yellowhammer document was based on assumptions drawn up under the previous government and restated the commitment you had made to our committee that you would publish revised assumptions in due course alongside a document outlining mitigations that the government has already put in place or plans to.

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"I would be grateful if you could confirm how soon you intend to share those documents with parliament.

"In doing so, I hope you will make it clear which assumptions on which the original Operation Yellowhammer document was drafted have now been revised."

It follows claims from former prime minister Gordon Brown, who claimed that government was "still not telling the truth" about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

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