Are EU lying, David or just clueless? Mystery of Davis's disappearing data.
DAVID Davis has been accused of lying to Parliament -- or simply being too hapless to do his job.
The Brexit Secretary admits the Government has failed to carry out any assessments into the impact on various parts of the UK economy on leaving the European Union.
Previously, he had said assessments went into "excruciating detail".
The dithering last night led to claims his department "has turned incompetence into an art form".
Mr Davis, now 3/1 second favourite with bookies to leave the Cabinet, also warned that exiting the EU will provoke an economic "paradigm change" similar to the 2008 financial crash.
Parliament had voted last month for dozens of impact assessments setting out potential consequences on a range of sectors to be published.
In 2016, Mr Davis told the Commons Brexit Committee the Government was "carrying out about 57 sets of analyses, each of which has implications for individual parts of 85% of the economy".
But yesterday, he said they did not exist and told MPs Whitehall had not studied the possible effects of quitting the EU.
He said: "You don't need to do a formal impact assessment to understand that, if there is a regulatory hurdle between your producers and a market, there will be an impact. It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as imagined."
But outraged MPs called for him to quit. Shadow Trade Minister Bill Esterson asked: "Did he know that the impact assessments didn't exist when he said they did?either w incompetent ii incredibly of Fh "It was either incredibly incompetent or incredibly dishonest."
Ex-Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: "David Davis has misled Parliament and, under his leadership, the Brexit department has turned incompetence into an art form."
Labour's Seema Malhotra, from the Brexit Committee, said: "Mr Davis has admitted the Government has not conducted a single assessment on leaving the EU.
"For a year, he has been saying the work is under way. Then, he said the reports were completed. Then, he said they couldn't be shared.
"Now he says that the work hasn't yet started. This Government are making policy decisions without evidence."
Yet Mr Davis is unlikely to be found in contempt of Parliament. MPs asked him in a resolution on November 1 to produce the analyses for examination.
The Brexit Committee last night agreed that "in view of the statement that no impact assessments have been undertaken, the Committee considers the response to the resolution of November 1 has been complied with".
VOICE OF THE MIRROR: PAGE 8
And yet, he has said
"We are conducting a broad range of analysis at the macroeconomic and sectoral level to understand the impact." OCT 30, 2017
"They are in excruciating detail." OCT 25
"We continue to analyse the impact of our exit, covering more than 50 sectors."FEB 2
"We are in the midst of carrying out about 57 sets of analyses." DEC 14, 2016
"We currently have in place an assessment of 51 sectors of the economy." OCT 20
"My officials are carrying out programme of sectoral and regulatory analysis." SEP 5
It was either incredibly incompetent or incredibly dishonest of David Davis BILL ESTERSON SHADOW TRADE MINISTER There's no systematic impact assessment I'm aware of DAVID DAVIS YESTERDAY
CHAOS RULES It all seems too much for David Davis