MPs urged to take back control of Brexit trade and customs bills

21 November 2017

  • Petition hand-in to the Department for International Trade at 11.30am on 21st November
  • Launch of ‘Securing democracy in UK trade’ report in Parliament at 12.30pm on 21st November

MPs from all parties are being urged to assert their authority in the face of the Government’s attempts to force through its post-Brexit trade and customs bills with minimal parliamentary scrutiny.

Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition urging the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, to ensure that MPs can amend and reject trade deals after a thorough parliamentary debate.

The Government’s proposed legislation aims to replicate existing trade agreements between the EU and developing countries, repeating mistakes and missing the opportunity to adopt trade policies that will further international development.

Matt Grady, trade expert at the charity Traidcraft Exchange said:

“Developing countries could lose out if parliament is simply used as a rubber-stamp to push through flawed trade deals with no scrutiny. MPs need to assert their right to scrutinise all trade deals and ensure they work to reduce poverty.”

Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Barry Gardiner MP said:

“The Labour Party will be fighting every step of the way to ensure the Trade Bill provides for proper parliamentary scrutiny of our future trade deals. We totally reject the idea that this government can bring back the power to negotiate trade agreements from Europe and then bypass Parliament.”

SNP trade spokesperson, Hannah Bardell MP said:

“Trade deals nowadays not only touch on tariffs, as important as they can be to a national economy, but also regulations, public services and more. That is why nations and regions need a say in these trade deals - setting guidelines, scrutinising, and being able to stop them if they don't work for everyone. Scotland won't let the Westminster government threaten our devolved powers through the Trade Bill.”

Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas MP said:

“As the Government ploughs ahead with Brexit we face the very real possibility of a trade policy devoid of proper democratic accountability. We know the risks associated with bad deals – a race to the bottom on regulations, companies suing democratically elected governments and the outsourcing of jobs. If the Government is serious about giving people control over their future then it's crucial that future trade deals aren't just stitched up in backrooms by ministers, but instead are debated and voted upon by MPs before being passed."

The ‘Securing democracy in UK trade policy’ report by the Trade Justice Movement calls for the involvement of MPs at every stage of the trade negotiations, with parliament gaining the power to amend or reject trade deals that fall short.

ENDS

For more information or to interview Matt Grady contact Tom Sharman: tom.sharman@traidcraft.org or 07757 753 318

 

Notes for editors:

Tom Sharman