G20 Summit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:42 pm on 3rd December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:42 pm, 3rd December 2018

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement, and join her in congratulating President Macri on Argentina’s presidency of the G20. It is pleasing to hear that President Macri and the Prime Minister had productive talks on trade and investment; perhaps she will share more details of their content with the House.

Given the current strains on international diplomacy, it is welcome that the G20 was able to come together and deliver a joint statement of endeavour. The communiqué itself is clearly a compromise agreement, but it falls short in a number of areas. In particular, the pledge to look at WTO reform requires further explanation from the Prime Minister on what reform she believes is needed and why. Also, on the refugee crisis and our responsibilities, it seems that the communiqué has the bare minimum commitment rather than real ambition. That is particularly shocking given that this weekend marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport—the journey of children who fled the Nazis. We should still have the same generosity of spirit towards refugees in this country today. I do, however, agree with the Prime Minister’s sentiments about the importance of the G20 to international economic co-operation, and I welcome the fact that commitments have been made to work together on economic opportunities and the greatest threat to our generation, climate change.

However, I note that in her press release the Prime Minister exclaimed that the summit gave her the opportunity to update leaders on her Brexit plans. Did the Prime Minister share with world leaders any concern that her deal is a lame duck? There are many questions for her to answer. Will she explain how she was discussing trade agreements when she will not be able to strike any deals until after the transition? Furthermore, can she explain how any of these discussions can take place when the backstop comes in, as she confirmed in the House last Monday that the UK will not be able to have any independent trade deals?

Does the Prime Minister see the direct contradiction in her claims of working in collaboration and partnership to deliver economic prosperity when her Brexit deal rips economic stability and opportunity from beneath our feet by taking us out of the European Union? I can see her shaking her head, but that is the reality: young people are going to be denied the opportunities that our generations had.

At the summit, did the Prime Minister use her time to discuss pressing human rights issues? What discussions did she have, and did she raise the matter of Khashoggi’s death with Mohammed bin Salman?

Finally, will the Prime Minister share with us an update on her Government’s actions over the past two years to tackle climate change, or has she been too distracted to get on with the job of government?