Thursday, December 07, 2017

No wonder only 16 parliamentarians* accessed the Brexit papers

Farcical security

Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, has complained to the government over their 'farcical' security measures for the Brexit papers.

Lord Newby has questioned whether such measures are beyond what is necessary for a document which should be made publicly available and contains no information which is sensitive.

The documents contain no assessment whatsoever by the Government of how Brexit will affect the sectors covered, and simply repeat what they’ve been told by companies in the sector.

The current security measures include:
  • Booking a time slot to view the papers
  • Getting a pass from Parliament Street
  • Being escorted to the reading room
  • Handing in your mobile phone
  • Being watched over by two DExEU officials
  • Not being allowed to view the papers outside the hours of 10-1 and 2-5 on Monday to Thursday.
Lord Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, said:

“There is absolutely no justification for the farcical restrictions being placed on parliamentarians wishing to see these documents. The arrangements seem designed to make it as difficult as possible to access them.

"As they contain no assessment of the impacts of Brexit and no sensitive material they should be made available in parliament in the same way as all other documents.

"They should also be put online so that the public can get a better understanding of the complexities and challenges of Brexit.”

(*Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom asserted today that only 16 people had accessed the government's Brexit assessments.)

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