Trade Bill: NC4

August 2020

 

Dear Constituent,

 

Thank you for writing to me about the Trade Bill and New Clause 4. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.

 

Jonathan Djanogly MP is a close personal friend and I considered his amendment very carefully indeed, and I listened to all sides of the debate on this important matter.

 

I appreciate your strength of feeling about this Clause and I agree with you about the importance of effective Parliamentary scrutiny. However, I do not believe that the provisions outlined in New Clause 4 are necessary.

 

At its core, the Trade Bill is a continuity Bill. It cannot be used to implement new free trade agreements with countries such as the US. Instead it can only be used to transition the free trade agreements that the UK has been party to through EU membership. All these agreements have already been subject to scrutiny as underlying EU agreements, through the European Scrutiny Committee process or equivalent.

 

Regarding future trade agreements, consultations have and will continue to be held prior to negotiations to inform the Government's approach. Ministers have also published their negotiating objectives prior to the start of trade talks and held open briefings for MPs and Peers.

 

Regular updates are provided to Parliament on the progress of negotiations, and Ministers at the Department for International Trade are engaging closely with the International Trade Committee and the Lords International Agreements Committee as negotiations progress.

 

The Government has also made repeatedly clear that where necessary it will bring forward primary legislation to implement new free trade agreements, which will be debated and scrutinised by Parliament in the usual way.

 

I have previously written a detailed response on the NHS and the Trade Bill, which you may find of interest. This can be found at:

 

https://www.jonathanlord.co.uk/nhs-and-trade-bill

 

There are also further recent responses from me about the Trade Bill, potential free trade deals, and maintaining high environmental and food safety standards which can be easily accessed on the ‘Campaign Emails’ section of my Jonathan Lord MP website.

 

Overall, I believe the Government’s approach strikes an appropriate balance. It respects the UK constitution, ensuring that the Government can negotiate in the best interests of the UK, while making sure that Parliament has the information it needs to scrutinise and lend its expertise to trade policy.

 

Thank you again for writing to me about these important matters.  

 

With best wishes.

 

Kind regards,

 

Jonathan Lord MP

Member of Parliament for Woking