Closed petition Revoke all government gagging orders relating to Brexit

Sky News have revealed that the government have imposed several hundred gagging orders on various organisations. These gagging orders prevent them from telling the public about the impact of Brexit. This restriction is not in the public or national interest. People are entitled to know.

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Government responded

This response was given on 22 August 2019

The Government has a responsibility to inform citizens about how leaving the EU might affect them. Organisations working with the Government on Brexit are not routinely required to sign NDAs.

Read the response in full

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are legally binding contracts used to maintain confidentiality. Government departments have previously made use of non-disclosure agreements when engaging with businesses and other organisations on preparations for leaving the EU.

As the Government accelerates these preparations, it has become vital to engage in processes that promote transparency, the exchange of information and constructive debate to allow trade groups and businesses to speak openly to one another about preparations.

Ministers believe that NDAs can hinder constructive debate and exchange of information, with some organisations for example saying they restrict their ability to properly tell members how to prepare for Brexit. So, organisations working with the Government on Brexit will now no longer be required to sign NDAs in the vast majority of circumstances.

NDAs will only be entered into, or existing NDAs maintained, when this is strictly necessary, including for example to protect the interests of third parties. Existing NDAs will also be reviewed to ensure they are still relevant and necessary.

The Government has published around 750 pieces of communications on No Deal since August 2018, including over 100 technical notices and is now launching a second phase of its public information campaign to make citizens at home and abroad aware of information which will help them be ready for change. The Government will make use of a range of channels to direct people to dedicated pages on GOV.UK which focus on Brexit preparations (www.gov.uk/euexit). People will be able to view the latest authoritative information and guidance on any aspect of Brexit relevant to them and find out what steps they need to take to be ready for the UK’s departure on 31 October. Information will also be there to provide reassurance to businesses and individual citizens and to reduce uncertainty wherever possible.

The Government will also continue to provide for ongoing scrutiny by keeping Parliament updated.

Cabinet Office.