MSPs only allowed to view Brexit analysis while supervised by UK Government officials

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 8 February 2018 in News

The UK Government invited MSPs to attend a private reading room, where they will be able to view analysis on the effect of leaving the EU, but warns they will be required to view the documents under supervision

Image credit: Graham Chandler

The UK Government will only allow MSPs to view new preliminary Brexit analysis if they make an appointment to view documents in a private reading room and agree not to share findings with the public, it has been revealed.

In a letter to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, the UK Government invited MSPs to attend a private reading room at the Scotland Office, where they will be able to view analysis on the effect of leaving the EU, but warns MSPs will be required to arrange a time to come and view the documents under supervision.

The UK Government warns they will not be able to share copies, or even enter the room with mobile phones or electronic recording devices.

The decision comes after Mike Russell warned he will publish any analysis sent to Scottish ministers by the UK Government, with the Scottish Brexit minister telling UK counterparts “if you send the analysis to us we will make it public”.

However, writing to Ken Macintosh, Robin Walker, the Undersecretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union, says the UK Government will require MSPs to sign in to the Scotland Office to view the analysis, with a UK Government official present with them in the reading room at all times.

The letter says: “Members will be able to write notes which will be taken away when they leave. It will not be able to remove any of the documents from the reading room to photograph, scan or copy in any way. Any unauthorised disclosure of the documents or information contained within them is strictly prohibited.”

He adds: “We recognise the benefits of parliamentary scrutiny and hope this approach will allow the members of the Scottish Parliament with a particular interest in aspects of the analysis to conduct their scrutiny whilst keeping this information confidential.”

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