Government admits no review of leaving Euratom agency was ever carried out

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The Government came under fire today after it admitted it did not carry out a formal assessment of the impact of quitting the Euratom agency.

Former minister Ed Vaizey said the failure was “surprising” because of possible consequences for jobs, energy supplies, research and medicine.

MPs stepped up pressure on ministers this morning by holding a Commons debate on a decision they suspect was taken in 10 Downing Street with minimal consultation.

They were demanding to see the legal advice that led the Government to insist that Britain had to leave at the same time as quitting the European Union.

Euratom is the body that governs the transportation of radioactive materials needed in nuclear energy and research.  

Without new international agreements to replace it, MPs fear Britain could run short of materials needed for scientific work and to produce electricity.

An impact assessment is a detailed study by impartial Government officials and economists of the likely costs and benefits of a policy decision or regulation.

Asked by the Evening Standard to disclose any such study in relation to quitting Euratom, a spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and  Industrial Strategy admitted there had been none.

A spokeswoman said: “Although no formal Impact Assessment was carried out, government did assess the impact; the nuclear industry, the R&D community and the Office for Nuclear Regulation will all confirm this as government is in continuous dialogue with the industry on this.”

Mr Vaizey said: “It’s very surprising that the Government has not carried out a formal Impact Assessment on the impact that leaving Euratom will have on our world-class nuclear industry.”

He said the  review “could have been key” to deciding whether it was right to leave Euratom.

Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary David Davis declined to defend Boris Johnson for remarks saying the EU could “go whistle” for the money it is seeking from Britain in a Brexit settlement. 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Foreign Secretary of arrogance. But Mr Davis chuckled and told MPs: “You will have to get the Foreign Secretary here to explain his views if you really wanted to. I’m not going to comment on other ministers.”

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