Government could be forced to publish Brexit impact assessments

PUBLISHED: 09:43 25 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 25 August 2019

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The government could be forced to publish the latest assessments of the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit when parliament re-opens.

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Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said he could use a parliamentary device to compel ministers to release documents linked to the Operation Yellowhammer no-deal preparations.

In a letter to Michael Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal planning, Sir Keir indicates Labour could use a humble address to the Queen - a tactic the opposition has used in the past to require the government to disclose Brexit-related documents.

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Sir Keir said Labour would "not hesitate to use all parliamentary devices available" when parliament resumes on September 3 to compel ministers to publish all the Operation Yellowhammer documents if the government does not do so voluntarily, the Sunday Times reported.

Leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents indicated the UK will be hit with a three-month "meltdown" at its ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of food and medicine after it leaves the EU without a deal.

In his letter, Sir Keir disputes Gove's claims last week that the leaked -documents were out of date and outlined a "worst-case scenario".

He said: "You challenged the claim that these anticipated effects of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement represented the government's understanding of the base 'most likely' scenario and intimated the information was nevertheless out of date.

"However, the government have not provided up-to-date information or explained what their assessment of the most likely effects is."

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