MP's concern over unanswered questions

MP Jo Platt has written to a parliamentary body outlining her concerns about poor answers to more than 50 questions she has posed over Brexit.

Monday, 12th March 2018, 11:09 am
Updated Monday, 12th March 2018, 12:10 pm
Leigh MP Jo Platt

The Leigh MP wrote to the Chair of the Procedures Committee, Charles Walker, after months of poor and unanswered questions from the Department for Exiting the European Union.

She said that MPs deserve “full and proper answers in our scrutiny of the Government”.

In the letter to Mr Walker, Ms Platt raised “deep concerns” about the quality of answers she was receiving to written parliamentary bodies, particularly from those responsible for handling Brexit.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

She wrote: “Since November 2017 I have tabled over 50 questions to the Secretary of State, predominately seeking to ascertain what assessments his department have undertaken into the impact of our departure from the European Union, and what measures the Government is taking to safeguard small businesses.”

She went on: “However, the responses I have received have failed to even engage with the questions, let alone adequately answer my requests.”

Ms Platt provided an example of such an occasion where she had enquired about a report into post-Brexit market access, which had allegedly been given to a journalist before MPs.

She has requested to know why a reporter had been able to see the document before Members and if an enquiry into its leak would be conducted.

She queried of Mr Walker: “Fully answering these points would not have compromised the UK’s negotiating positions, and I believe are legitimate questions for an MP to ask in scrutiny of the Government’s Brexit process.

“However, the responses I received ranged from it being ‘not standard practice’ to comment on ongoing analysis, to refuisng to comment on even the existence of leak enquiries.”

She called on the Chair to review the quality of answers she had received from various Ministers, before saying: “I am sure that you agree that MPs must be given the ability to fully scrutinise the Government’s approach to ensure that Britain gets the best possible deal for the United Kingdom.

"However, this scrutiny must be met with satisfactory answers to reassure us that the Government is fully prepared and equipped to negotiate one of the most important deals in our country’s history.”