Molly Scott Cato threatens legal action to have “secret Brexit studies” released

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Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, has announced that she is preparing to go to court to secure the release of Brexit-related “secret studies” commissioned by the government. Working alongside the Good Law Project – a group which “fight cases to defend, define or change the law” regarding Brexit, tax and worker’s rights – she gave a 14-day ultimatum for their publication, after which they will commence legal proceedings.

Her solicitors wrote on Thursday to Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that “there can be no doubt that you each have a common law power to disclose the documents we seek”, and explain they are not using the Freedom of Information of Act due to the “urgency of this matter”. They also cite Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights as part of the legal basis for their request, which states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority”.

They seek both a collection of 57 studies examining the impact of Brexit on different sectors, which David Davis told the House of Commons “cover 85% of the economy—everything except sectors that are not affected by international trade”, and a separate report they “understand” the Treasury has produced “that compares the predicted economic detriment of Brexit with the predicted economic benefits of alternative free trade agreements”.

In her speech at a Bristol #StopBrexit rally, Scott Cato held up the total donations made to their crowdfunding campaign, currently topping £60,000, as evidence of widespread support for the initiative.

She doesn’t believe releasing the studies would weaken the UK’s negotiating position, as “there isn’t a great deal of difference that can be made through the negotiations. It’s basically a binary choice: single market Norway-style exit, or ‘hard Brexit’ and WTO rules”.

We can now only wait for the government’s response.