British government pressed to release full Brexit dossier


LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers lambasted the government Tuesday over its reluctance to disclose a series of studies it commissioned on the likely economic impact of Brexit.

Earlier this month, the House of Commons passed a motion by the opposition Labour Party calling for the analyses of 58 sectors of the economy to be released. Commons Speaker John Bercow said the government could be found in contempt of Parliament if it refused to comply.

Government ministers argued that making the assessments public would undermine its divorce negotiations with the European Union. Pro-EU lawmakers suspect the documents reveal that Brexit could have a serious negative effect on the economy.

On Tuesday the government said it had sent some 850 pages of the documents to Parliament's Exiting the EU Committee, but with "commercially, market and negotiation sensitive information" withheld.

The committee said that was not good enough, and summoned Brexit Secretary David Davis to explain himself. The date of his appearance has not yet been set.

Opposition Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer accused Davis of "treating Parliament with contempt" by failing to release the documents in full.

Scottish National Party lawmaker, Pete Wishart, said he had written to Bercow formally complaining that the government has held Parliament in contempt.

Lawmakers found in contempt of Parliament can be suspended or expelled, or even incarcerated in the Big Ben clock tower, although that punishment hasn't been used since the 19th century.