The Department for International Trade has revealed its belief that none of the documents withheld from the public regarding the attempted Newcastle United takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund has 'any material effect' on the deal.

Chronicle Live revealed back in October that the department had correspondence between themselves and the Saudi PIF but provided several reasons to why they would not release it - these reasons were upheld after an appeal.

The exemptions given under the Freedom Information Act included

The above exemptions came with the explanation that in large it was not in the interest of the public to release the information sought, something Gateshead MP Ian Mearns could not understand.

Upon learning of the final outcome of the appeal, Mr Mearns told Chronicle Live: "There was discussion and certainly emanating from the consortium who were hoping to take over Newcastle United, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the fact is they were not only looking to take over the club but to invest in the area as well.

"So here we have the Department for International Trade who seem to be going along with a narrative who seem to be preventing inward investment from a foreign investment entity. I don't understand how this is a public interest defence from their perspective.

Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead

"By not releasing this information they're potentially aiding and abetting the prevention of the purchase of the football club but the contingent of additional investment within the North East area which would come with that and which was promised by the PIF at the time the takeover was mooted. Which members of the public is it in the interest of?

"Surely, the greatest number of the members of the public it would have the most significant impact on is those in the Tyneside area, those of Newcastle United but also other members of the public who are unknowing at the moment but could at some time in the future potential benefit from contingent investment from the public investment fund.

"How is that in the public interest? To deny anything that would help to secure that investment in the future? It seems to me absolutely and utterly contrary to what they are suggestion it is - it is not in the public interest at all to refrain from releasing this information"

Putting these claims to the DIT, a spokesman again reaffirmed that the takeover was not something for the government to get involved in.

"Whilst we welcome overseas investment, the takeover bid has always been a commercial matter for the parties concerned and we do not hold any information that has any material effect on this issue.”

Chronicle Live is still awaiting the FOI put to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which is now more than three months overdue but has not been rejected.

We still have no timescale given for when the information will be released.