David Davis Portrait

This week David Davis MP came spectacularly unstuck in front of a parliamentary select committee as he failed to provide impact reports regarding Brexit, despite previous claims of preparing reports of ‘excruciating detail.’

A Brief Timeline concerning the Impact Assessments follows 2

25 June 2017
Whilst appearing on the Andrew Marr show Mr Davis claims “We’ve got 50 nearly 60 sector analyses already done” Source
14 August 2017
David Jones MP in a letter writes “The Dept for exiting the European Union has conducted analyses of 50 sectors of the economy”
8 September 2017
In response to a Freedom of Information(FOI) Request from Seema Malhotra MP (Labour & Co-op MP for Feltham & Heston) the department responded: the studies were completed; “we intend to publish the information.”
Sunday 22 October 2017
Dr Liam Fox on Peston on Sunday TCV states “Why would we publish data in a negotiation that might actually diminish our negotiating hand”;. After this date Mr Davis started to use the “negotiating hand” reason for failing to provide impact assessments for other MPs to scrutinise.
Thursday 26 October 1017
Responding to a question from Labours Seema Malhotra, Mr Davis responded “She’ll(Teresa May) know the summary outcomes of them…She won’t necessarily have read every single one, they are in excruciating detail.”
Tuesday 31 October 2017
A Government spokesman stated “This list details the 58 sectors that are used in the analysis and covers the breadth of the UK economy… this analysis is closely tied to our negotiating position and it would undoubtedly be detrimental to our interests in the negotiation to publish it.”
Wednesday 1st November
Sir Keir Starmer(Labour:Holborn and St Pancras) tables a motion using a little used parliamentary request known as a humble address to force the Government to release the unredacted Impact Assessments.The Government does not oppose this motion
Thursday 2nd November 2017
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom MP (Conservative: South Northamptonshire)assures MPs that “It is absolutely accepted that the motion passed by the house yesterday is binding, and that the information will be forthcoming,”

This witches’ brew of arrogance, complacency and incompetence is extremely damaging for the UK with Brexit we face the biggest political challenge for a generation one with long term implications.

After weeks of prevarication and evasion.David Davis has been caught unprepared and possibly misleading parliament.Conservative handling of Brexit,the result a gambit lost by David Cameron.Has never been particularly convincing.This week their incompetence was laid bare for all to see, and what is particularly regrettable is I cannot say I am even slightly surprised. When Tory MPs such as Ben Bradley MP accuse the government of “Making it up as they go along”3 its time to start worrying.This Conservative complacency was evident after the Referendum result, it was obvious there had been negligible planning for the event the public voted out.The only Party prepared in the event of the public voting out appeared to be the SNP, mainly because they hoped to turn the result into a second independence referendum.

Failing the United Kingdom

This cavalier attitude to the Impact of Brexit reinforces the opinion of Dominic Cummings the former director of the Leave EU Campaign who described Mr Davis as “Thick as mince, vain as narcissus and Lazy as a toad” 1.When one compares Mr Davis’s performance with the professionalism of EU Negotiators it is embarrassing to watch and reflects very poorly on the UK. Ultimately as the Person responsible for selecting such a poor Brexit negotiating team Theresa May needs to shoulder some of the blame for this farcical performance, it’s not funny when the United Kingdom’s future and the lives of its citizens are at stake.It may surprise some Conservative MPs that this is not a ‘jolly wheeze’.In November Sir Keir Starmer stated that “It’s completely unacceptable for the Tories to have wasted months avoiding responsible scrutiny and trying to keep the public in the dark. The reality is that it should not have taken an ancient parliamentary procedure to get ministers to listen to common sense.” I am in complete agreement with this.Given the incompetence on display this week its no wonder the Conservatives were so eager to prevent publication of the research and given the importance of Brexit it makes one wonder if this ineptitude is widespread throughout the government.


  1. ‘Yes, the Brexit Secretary Really Does Think There’s No Point Planning for Brexit’. The Independent, 6 December 2017. . Source
  2. ‘The Many Times David Davis Talked about Brexit Analysis He Says Doesn’t Exist’. Accessed 10 December 2017. Source
  3. BBC Radio The Nolan Show 7th December 2017

Photo Credit

Official Photo of Mr Davis by Chris McAndrew

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