Brexit: Scottish Government handed redacted impact paper

The UK Government is refusing to make the 850-page document available to the public.

Brexit: Michael Russell (left) has urged David Davis to publish the papers. Scottish Government and PA

The Scottish Government has received a redacted version of the internal assessment of the impact of leaving the European Union to the UK economy.

The UK Government was forced to release the information following the passing of a House of Commons motion.

On Monday, the 850-page document was handed to the Scottish Government, Westminster's Brexit select committee and the House of Lords' EU committee.

Scottish ministers were only allowed to have the information after they promised not to publicly publish the documents.

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Michael Russell, the Scottish Government's Brexit minister, faced criticism from Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie when he appeared at Holyrood's finance and constitution committee on Wednesday for agreeing to a vow of secrecy over the papers with Whitehall.

"I am slightly disturbed by the implication of your decision to accept this information on the basis that you will withhold it from parliamentary scrutiny and from public scrutiny," Harvie said.

Russell defended his decision to agree to not to publish the papers.

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He said: "My inclination is to make everything I possibly can (public) but on this occasion this is material that was provided to us and it was provided to the committee in a confidential way.

"I think it should be public, I think it will become public but I can't make an ex cathedra decision on that."

In a letter to Davis, Russell said: "It is essential that people across the UK fully understand the consequences of decisions being taken about their future.

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"It is disappointing that the UK Government has persisted in keeping this information from being publicly available and have shared with us only on the basis that we do not release it into the public domain.

"I urge you to reconsider this approach, be up front with people and publish these reports immediately."

Brexit secretary David Davis is facing criticism after it emerged the document handed to the bodies is a redacted version, with what has been described as market sensitive information withheld.

A spokesman for his department said: "The government has satisfied the motion - providing the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee with information covering 58 sectors of the economy.

"We have also shared the information with the Lords EU committee.

"We have always been clear that our analysis does not exist in the form parliament requested. We have taken time to bring together the analysis we do have in a way that meets parliament's specific ask."

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