Cross-party bid to stop ministers “hoodwinking” democracy over Brexit

Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA

Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A cross-party group of MPs are set to table amendments to Budget legislation that would force the government to come clean on whether its proposed Brexit deal is better for Britain than staying in the European Union.

The initiative comes after a leaked memorandum showed ministers were planning to publish an official analysis of how any withdrawal agreement compares to a “no deal” Brexit – but “not to our current deal” inside the EU.

The amendments to the Finance Bill, drafted by MPs Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry, two leading supporters of the People’s Vote campaign, would force the Treasury to carry out and publish an impact study of any Brexit deal before MPs have a ‘meaningful vote’ on leaving the EU. They would also require the Office of Budget Responsibility to carry out an independent assessment of this work.

Chuka Umunna MP from the Peole’s Vote campaign said that the government must not try to “hoodwink” the Commons on the matter.

He said: “It is vital MPs have all the information necessary to make the most important decision parliamentarians will be making since World War II.

“There must be no attempt to pull the wool over our eyes or hoodwink the House of Commons on the economic impact of any Brexit deal.

“MPs from all parties are demanding we see the cross Whitehall economic analysis of any deal and that must be measured against the deal we have now as an EU member.”

Separately Labour is using its “humble address” during an opposition day debate to attempt to make guidance by the attorney general Geoffrey Cox available to MPs once a Brexit deal is ready to be put forward.

Sir Keir Starmer said: “It’s simply untenable for the government to put forward any Brexit deal to Parliament without providing the legal advice on what’s been agreed.

“At this critical stage, MPs can’t be kept in the dark nor can we risk Parliament being bounced into a decision without having all of the facts available.”

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