Last Thursday, the UK and EU completed their first round of negotiations on our post-Brexit future relationship. In a sharp break from the approach to previous negotiations, the Minister responsible, Michael Gove, did not come to Parliament to answer questions.
The Government is dodging scrutiny on the most important negotiations in a generation, so I wrote to Gove to call on him to update Parliament in person after each further round of negotiations.
You can read my letter below:
Government update on negotiations on our future relationship with the EU
I am writing to express my deep concern at the lack of Parliamentary scrutiny of negotiations over our future relationship with the EU.
The first round of negotiations ran from Monday 2nd March to Thursday 5th March. On 5th March, after the conclusion of the first round of negotiations, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier held a press conference. The UK Government issued a statement to the media some hours later, and published a short 200 word written statement this morning, but no Government minister or representative has answered questions on the first round of negotiations.
During your statement on the EU future relationship on 27th February, you re-iterated the Prime Minister’s commitment to “keep Parliament fully informed about the negotiations, and colleagues will be able to scrutinise our progress”.
The House of Lords EU Committee has already criticised the Government for not giving the UK Parliament “the opportunity to play its proper role in debating, in Government time, matters of such vital national interest.” I would be grateful if you could urgently commit to updating the House in person after every subsequent round of negotiations and after every meeting of the Joint Committee, on which you sit.
I look forward to your response.
Paul Blomfield MP
Shadow Minister for Exiting the EU
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central