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Leaving the EU: Agreement

Volume 630: debated on Thursday 2 November 2017

6. If he will publish the assessments carried out by his Department on the potential effect on the UK of exiting the EU without an agreement. (901558)

A future partnership between the UK and the EU is in the interests of both sides and I am confident that we will secure a good deal. A responsible Government should prepare for all potential outcomes, and we are undertaking work across a range of scenarios. We will share as much information as possible, but we will not walk into this negotiation risking our negotiating position.

The Government are hiding the true facts about Brexit from the British people. Using this information, the Government are making contingency plans for a failure to make a trade deal, but how can businesses, public services and devolved Administrations make their plans if they do not have the same information?

The hon. Gentleman mentions “true facts”, but there seems to be some misunderstanding about what the sectoral analysis is. It is not a series of 50-plus quantitative forecasts and, even if it were, forecasts could not be said to represent true facts. We have made our position clear and we will continue as we have set out.

The EU’s refusal to discuss the future relationship is clearly founded on the belief, which no doubt the assessments will show to be mistaken, that it may thereby panic the United Kingdom into handing over large sums to avoid what the EU perceives to be the horrors of no agreement. Will the Secretary of State and his colleagues assure the EU that although the UK is clearly anxious to have a free trade agreement, it is also entirely happy to trade with the EU on a WTO basis?

I am grateful for my right hon. Friend’s question—he is of course an expert in these matters. I assure the House that President Tusk has said

“we are all working actively on a deal,”

and that Mr Barnier has said the EU wants to build an “ambitious, long-lasting partnership” with the United Kingdom. Of course we all want to deliver that partnership, but my right hon. Friend’s point is well made.

18. The Government recently published a security, law enforcement and criminal justice negotiation paper without consulting the Scottish Government. What engagement did Ministers have with the Scottish legal profession before the paper was published? (901570)

The Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr Walker), has met them, and I am sure that were he to be asked a question, he would give a fuller answer.

It was very wise of the Government to prepare dossiers on the impact of Brexit on sectors in the United Kingdom. I assume that the European Union has done something similar regarding what it is going to do when it loses £10 billion to £12 billion a year. Indeed, the German Government might have prepared a dossier about the impact on their car industry, and the French might have prepared one on their wine industry. Has the Minister received any representations from Opposition Members about pressing those Governments to publish their dossiers?

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point. I feel sure that all sides in this negotiation are conducting their analyses of everyone’s negotiating capital. The electorate of all Members of this House will note who is asking for which negotiating position to be revealed, and what that says about their acceptance of the referendum result.