I’ve seen a number of misleading or altogether false statements about yesterday’s Trade Bill vote and I think it’s important to clear things up:
The Trade Bill passing does not mean that substandard food will be flooding into our supermarkets. The Government remains absolutely committed to maintaining the UK’s world leading food standards.
The Trade Bill passing does not mean that the NHS is “for sale” or “on the table” in any future trade agreements. This is a lie that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party desperately tried to repeat again and again at the last election.
No matter how many times people repeat it, it remains a lie.
The Government has made its commitment to the NHS clear at all stages and repeatedly said that it won’t form part of any new trade deals in future.
The Trade Bill passing does not end Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. The checks and balances around negotiating and ratifying new trade deals under the Constitutional Reform & Governance Act 2010 remain in place.
This Trade Bill is a straight-forward but important piece of legislation that allows the UK to continue trade agreements with 20 countries “rolling over” the agreements from our time as a member of the EU. This will be vital for our economy as we end the transition period. It also allows British businesses to access £1.3 trillion of overseas government contracts and gives them protection from unfair trade practices.
Tabling poorly thought out amendments which are not relevant to the purpose of a bill and forcing the Government to vote them down is a standard opposition parliamentary tactic. It’s pure politics and not based on any good-faith desire to improve the law.
I will continue to support efforts to open up new trade and export opportunities for British business so that we can make the most of our global position.