Report branded ‘fine piece of work’ by Brexiteers withdrawn

(Left to right) Shanker Singham, Gisela Stuart, David Davis MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Theresa Villi

(Left to right) Shanker Singham, Gisela Stuart, David Davis MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Theresa Villiers MP attend the launch of the Institute of Economic Affairs latest Brexit research paper, in central London. (Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A pro-Brexit thinktank report which outlines an alternative plan to Theresa May's Chequers proposal has been withdrawn after an investigation.

The 'Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit UK' report from the Institute of Economic Affairs was published in September.

It was branded a 'fine piece of work' by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, while Brexiteers David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Theresa Villiers all appeared at the report's launch to support it.

The report encouraged politicians to ditch Theresa May's Chequers plan and advocated a Canada-style free trade deal.

Now the Charity Commission has ordered the IEA to remove the report from its website because it was 'not sufficiently balanced' and said that the thinktank 'overstepped the line of what is permissible charitable activity.'

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David Holdsworth, the Commission's deputy chief executive, said: 'We made clear to the IEA that the report in question overstepped the line of what is permissible charitable activity and requested that it was removed. We are pleased that the IEA has responded by doing so.'

He added: 'The report was not sufficiently balanced and neutral as required of an educational charity under charity law. We also found that the charity had been undertaking political activity not in line with the charity's purposes.'

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The IEA was now looking to set up a non-charitable arm to avoid interventions from the Charity Commission.

Neil Record, chairman from the IEA, said: 'We believe it is increasingly unclear what charitable think tank activity is acceptable, and what is not. 'A worrying precedent is in the process of being set: research papers – and their launches – which put forward firm policy proposals may now fall outside the parameters of what the Charity Commission considers acceptable activity.'

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