FOI reply from UKGOV: A cover-up of Brexit’s impact on Scotland?
Recently we discussed how James Chapman, the ex-head of the Department for Leaving the EU, suggested that the government holds a report showing that Scotland is going to be particularly badly hit by Brexit.
So we wrote a Freedom of Information request to the department and below is the reply.
It basically states that they think it is in the public interest to not confirm or deny if such a report exists. The reasoning is that they think it is permissible to keep the public ill-informed, as releasing the info might jeopardise the Brexit talks. In their view, the danger to the Brexit talks outweighs the good of the public being informed.
To me this reasoning as flawed.
It is of the utmost importance that the public is aware of the Government’s Brexit assessments. The shape of Brexit, even a best-case Brexit, is going to have a massive impact on the lives of many people and businesses. This information is imperative for helping them make informed decisions about their future.
In my opinion, the damage that can be done by getting Brexit wrong far outweighs the damage that could be done by having these reports out in the open. The government is hiding behind ‘public interest’ in order to try to subvert the democratic process that should be happening around Brexit. The very democratic process that Brexiteers claim to have voted for.
It would be madness to trust a right-wing Tory government led by ideologues like Gove, Fox and Boris, to do the right thing.
Reading between the lines though, I think we can say that such a report probably does exist. If it didn’t then why not just deny its existence outright?
This all has a whiff of the McCrone report, when the UK government hid information detailing how much money Scottish oil was worth. The deception only came to light decades later when it was too late for the public to act on the information. The information was deliberately hidden in order stop Scotland moving towards independence and the oil money was squandered keeping the country afloat during the Thatcher years of painful reform.
If the report James Chapman mentioned does exist the government knows it would be explosive in Scotland. I believe that and only that is why they are keeping it secret.
Oh well, I may as well take the next step and write to the information commissioner to challenge the decision.
Here is the reply to my letter.
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