Prorogation (Disclosure of Communications)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:59 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 6:59 pm, 9th September 2019

The hon. Lady raises at least two important points. First, we are of course absolutely aware that whatever the impacts of a no-deal Brexit, they are likely to be more acute, in a number of ways, in Northern Ireland. She is absolutely right that that extends not just to the economy of Northern Ireland but to security considerations. Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have been very clear about what the risks are and their attempts to mitigate them.

On the broader point, submissions that would go to the Prime Minister would not normally be circulated to the whole of the Cabinet, any more than submissions that go to an individual Minister would. This goes to the very heart of what is being requested. That submission is already there, but we are now being asked to give this House and, indeed, the world not just those submissions but every possible communication that any civil servant might have entertained beforehand in helping to advise the Prime Minister on the correct course of action. It is a basic principle of good government observed by Governments—Labour, Conservative and Scottish National party—that there should be a safe space for the advice that civil servants give.