David Davis is either woefully unprepared, dishonest or both

by Luke Lythgoe | 06.12.2017

David Davis either isn’t being frank about the government’s impact assessments or he has a terrifyingly blase attitude to Brexit – or perhaps both.

The Commons’ Exiting the EU Committee tried today to work out whether the 850 pages of what one Tory Brexit MP described as “anodyne” analysis handed to them last month is the same analysis into the impact of Brexit that the Brexit secretary has been talking about since last year. Davis’ evidence renewed calls for a vote on whether he is in contempt of Parliament.

The Brexit secretary told the committee that no systematic, sector-by-sector impact assessments existed. The documents he had provided were “sectoral analyses” which did not provide “a forecast of leaving the European Union, or the options thereof”. Rather these reports – edited by Brexit department officials and yet to be published – are designed to show what each sector consists of, its size, contribution to the economy and so on.

Davis’ evidence today contradicts a number of previous comments he and other ministers have made, suggesting analysis has been done into what Brexit’s “impact” would be on each sector of the economy or what would “happen to” these sectors – not merely a description of what the economy currently looks like.

  • In September 2016, Davis said his department was “working through (analysis) about 50 cross-cutting sectors – what is going to happen to them”.
  • In February of this year, the Brexit secretary told MPs: “We continue to analyse the impact of our exit across the breadth of the UK economy, covering more than 50 sectors.”
  • In October, he said the documents were in “excruciating detail”.

All this suggests two main possibilities. First, that the government has produced proper impact assessments – and is hiding them from parliament. Second, that the government never did its homework on Brexit, despite Davis boasting that it had. The latter explanation would certainly fit with the government’s overall incompetence when it comes to Brexit.

Davis said today that analysing separate sectors wasn’t necessary because the government was aiming for an “overarching trade agreement” with the EU. He admitted that early versions of the government’s analyses were “not very good” – suggesting the government’s original Brexit plan before triggering Article 50 was based on “not very good” thinking. He was also forced to admit there was “not a formal quantitative” assessment of the decision to leave the EU’s customs union. This would help explain the current chaos.

The government is botching Brexit. It’s not too late to stop it.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

7 Responses to “David Davis is either woefully unprepared, dishonest or both”

  • At this rate, there will be more than enough evidence to either get rid of Davis or force his resignation. But, as he has evidentially failed to do, we should do an impact analysis of this. Would we be worse off if his departure left a space for Gove & Boris to move into….or Rees-Mogg and fellow clowns?
    It might be that we are better off propping up Davis until his, and May’s, inevitable failure to secure anything other than a poor relation of Brexit. In the ensuing confusion, where blame is being freely thrown around at anyone who had claimed to be “very clear” about Brexit, there might be an opportunity for Tory II to surface. It cannot be worse than the third-rate bunch of lemmings that we have right now.

  • I think the most plausible explanantion for the failure to publish these sectoral impact studies, is that they would be just be too damning for the Brexit cause. It would tip the balance for those MPs and Lords who were perhaps wavering, to actually vote against the Government.
    That exlanation would be consistent with the Government’s overall strategy to minimise all scrutiny, transparency and democratic debate on the consequences of Brexit. Until they were reminded by Gina Miller and the High Court that they too were subject to the law of the land, they had hoped to avoid all parliamentary scrutiny.
    MPs and the Lords have to now really show what they are made of. The Government musn’t be allowed to get away with railroading this shabby Brexit Bill through, without proper scrutiny. They should be held to account, and if they can’t provide plausible answers, MPs must not hesitate to vote down the Brexit Bill.

  • Davis is now showing the true depth of his incompetence, and his lying deceptive statements about brexit.
    I am sure that whatever attempts at fantasy impact assessments of brexit, that his very expensive staff have tried to invent, they have found nothing positive.
    His incompetent and charlatan boss knows exactly what he tells her, and she obviously refuses to share anything negative.
    In my view they should both be impeached for dishonesty and hiding facts.
    The main reason that Mayhem and this government are driving hell bent for brexit at any cost in 2019, is pure greed.
    They and their billionaire supporters don’t want to have to pay full tax, the new EU Anti Tax Avoidance legislation, comes into effect in January 2019.
    The only way to avoid it becoming UK law is brexit.
    Read this carefully:

  • My guess is that Davis is both thoroughly dishonest and incompetent. Didn’t one of his ex-colleagues say that he is “thick and lazy”. Obviously way out of his depth, but I suspect like his thoroughly dishonest colleagues Fox and Johnson he will hang on by his fingertips.

  • Surely, now, Mr Wensleydale (aka the Brexit Secretary) has to be reprimanded as being in contempt of parliament? Davis’ communication with the House of Commons on this matter borders on the bizarre – and certainly does warrant severe reprimand for deliberately misleading both the Commons and the Brexit Committee.

    In any event, now that he has been forced to confide that there are no analytical reports on the impact of Brexit on various sectors of the economy, parliament should still be pushing the Government to demand why no studies were initiated, even prior to Theresa May triggering Article 50? Please, why?

    Let’s hope that John Bercow receives the recommendtaion which we all want to hear from the Brexit Committee soon.

  • EU should be tearing up May’s A50 letter throwing the pieces in her face, telling her to get lost as EU will stop the negotiations and start again from scratch once proper impact assessments have been carried out. EU must then, in turn compensate the people of the UK for the damage that May has done, and get it back from the Tory Party , its members, and if necessary , the idiots who voted Tory in 2010.