David Davis’s department has refused to say whether it has analysed the impact of Brexit on Britain’s regions because doing so could provoke a “reactionary” response that could damage the economy.
The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) said confirming or denying its existence could “impact the national and regional economies by precipitating preemptive and reactionary assumptions from stakeholders in the respective regions”.
It was responding to a freedom of information request following claims by the department’s former chief of staff, James Chapman, that it carried out analysis which showed Scotland and the north-east of England would lose most from Brexit.
The response came as the Brexit Secretary and Treasury were threatened with legal action within two weeks unless they publish more than 50 studies on the economic impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
DExEU said in a statement: “By confirming or denying whether we held this information, we could similarly impact the national and regional economies by precipitating pre-emptive and reactionary assumptions from stakeholders in the respective regions. This, again, may undermine the success of the bilateral negotiations and consequently damage the UK economy.”