Monday, September 02, 2019

Withdrawal preparedness: Public deserve better than a watered-down dodgy dossier

The Liberal Democrats have written to Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, to demand clarity over whether the Operation Yellowhammer document would be a “watered-down dodgy dossier that has reportedly been drafted to suit political agendas”.

According to reports in The Sunday Times, sources familiar with the document describe the version being prepared for release to the public as “soft soap” and “neutralised”.

The Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary, Tom Brake MP, has requested confirmation that any ministerial demand that civil servants ‘adapt the truth’ would be against the ministerial code.

Mr Brake has also asked that civil servants asked to draft this document be protected and brought before Parliament to give evidence.

Writing in his letter, Mr Brake said: 

"Given the serious threat of medicine and food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it is only right that the government is fully open and transparent about the detail of Operation Yellowhammer.

“I am therefore writing to ask that you confirm that any ministerial demand that civil servants water down or ‘adapt the truth’ in this document would be tantamount to ministers breaking the ministerial code?

"Please confirm also that civil servants do not risk being disciplined if they refuse to comply with such an unreasonable request and that they will be protected by whistle-blower legislation should a 'sanitised' document be released.

"I am also writing to request that you provide me with the details of the senior civil servants asked to draft this document, so that they can be invited urgently to give evidence to Parliament."

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