FOI requests shows government is keeping public in the dark over Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

PA

New research has revealed the extent that the public is being kept in the dark over Brexit by the government.

The research, carried out by the People’s Vote campaign, found that only 20-25% of all Freedom of Information requests were answered by Brexit-related departments, with the Brexit department refusing to cooperate with more than half of all requests.

Examples of information blocked from release included surveys conducted to gage the opinions of business on Brexit, bonus pay for mandarins, documents about meetings with foreign politicians, and taxpayers’ money spent on private management consultancies to help with the Brexit work.

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The revelations come as Peter Kyle MP writes to the permanent secretary for Cabinet Office, John Manzoni, calling for a review of the departments operations, to ensure public accountability and access to adequate information about the government’s Brexit work for ordinary members of the public.

The MP said: “The government’s astonishing lack of transparency around Brexit is a national scandal, and is part of the reason why we’ve ended up in the mess we’re in now. The government departments charged with dealing directly with Brexit are deliberately obfuscating and hiding the many unpleasant realities of the process from the public.

“The truth they’re trying to hide is that the government’s proposed Brexit would severely harm our economy and is much worse than our existing deal inside the EU. I have written to the chief executive of the civil service to demand urgent answers, because the British public deserve to have all the information about Brexit available to them.

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“Because of the failure to be open and transparent, the public have lost confidence in the Government’s ability to handle the Brexit process properly. That’s why more and more people are rallying behind the calls for a People’s Vote, to give the people the final say.”

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