Prorogation (Disclosure of Communications)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Independent, Beaconsfield 5:14 pm, 9th September 2019

My right hon. Friend makes a very good point. There was a time at the end of last week when the list was rather long and included—I will say this openly—senior civil servants, but I was reticent about that and felt as a result of inquiries I made that the list could best be narrowed. It was made quite clear from the information I gleaned that the origins of the story of how Prorogation came about lay not with public officials but with the special advisers to Ministers. For that reason, the list is as well directed as I believe it can be.

That is the issue surrounding Prorogation. In addition, we have the papers surrounding Yellowhammer. The House will remember that the Government sought to suggest when the Yellowhammer papers first started to emerge—some of them—that this was material prepared for a previous Administration, but that turns out to be incorrect and to be another of those little inaccuracies that now seem to creep out of No. 10 Downing Street. It was material prepared for the current Administration and Cabinet committees so that they could understand the risks involved in a no-deal Brexit.

We will be prevented over the coming weeks from debating those issues, and when we return we will have almost no time. I fear very much that by the time the Queen’s Speech debate is over we will be mired in a great crisis that I would much rather see avoided. It seems entirely reasonable, therefore, to ask the Government to disclose these documents, both so the House can understand the risks involved and so that these can in due course be communicated more widely to the public. Of course, if the documents suggest that no risks are involved, that too will be in need of communication.