Downing Street refuses to publish Brexit deal impact assessment

The door to Number 10 Downing Street

The door to Number 10 Downing Street - Credit: PA

Downing Street has refused to publish an impact assessment on its Brexit deal with the EU, despite producing similar reviews of other trade deals.

The prime minister's spokesperson dismissed calls to publish the analysis, saying it had already set out the details of the deal "and the opportunities and benefits it provides the U.K."

"We’ve been clear it’s a good deal, which allows us to maintain access to the EU market," the spokesperson repeated on a call with reporters on Tuesday.

Britain's trade deal with the EU has been marred with chronic trade disruptions at the Northern Ireland border, leading to delayed or reduced shipments of goods since the new economic relationship started on January 1.

Among the worst-hit businesses are supermarkets in Northern Ireland, which have reported food shortages. 

Meanwhile, revenue officials at Dublin Port in Ireland say more customs declarations have been processed in January than in the whole of 2020.

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In November, the Office for Budget Responsibility said a free-trade deal with the EU would leave Britain’s gross domestic product 4% lower over the long run, compared with staying in the bloc. That prediction was made before the deal was agreed.

Impact assessments are common pieces of government work that determine the economic effects of policies. In October, Britain published such a review of its new trade accord with Japan, which replaced an existing deal the country had through its membership of the EU.

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This comes as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove wrote to European Commission vice president Marcos Sefcovic last week asking for no additional checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland until 2023.

MORE: Brexit negotiator urges EU to adopt 'different spirit'

Irish broadcaster RTE reports that the EU saw Gove’s letter as an ultimatum and that officials believe the UK has not worked with Brussels to implement the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol.

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