Leavers Walk Out of Brexit Committee Over Benn’s Highly Partisan Report

Leave-supporting members of the Brexit select committee walked out of a meeting this morning after Hilary Benn produced a report they found highly partisan and overly pessimistic. Last Wednesday Benn surprised committee members by revealing that he and the committee clerks were drawing up a report to be published on Friday this week, timed so Benn could get his name up in lights over the weekend. Guido is told there were no previous discussions with committee members about the report and no discussions about its conclusions.

Today Benn presented colleagues with his 150 page report. After an hour of talks this morning, Leave-supporting committee members decided that the report was so partisan, so gloomy and so pessimistic that there was no point trying to table amendments or seek changes. They were particularly disappointed that Benn had made no attempt to achieve balance or consensus among the committee, and that evidence from Ivan Rogers and representatives from Gibraltar was selectively quoted. There was no organised walkout, but after an hour of going round in circles the Brexit committee members decided to politely leave. They left the Remain committee members (who are obviously happy with the report) in the room.

Guido is told the Brexiteer committee members now see no other option but to publish a minority report. To be fair to the Leavers on the committee, they have worked with Benn and the Remainers on previous reports and tried to constructively seek a consensus. This was always going to be the problem with Benn being committee chair. Select committees are supposed to hold the government to account but also help them shape policy – highly partisan Hilary is just trying to obstruct the process…




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