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Our Government’s disastrous handling of the UK’s departure from the EU can be seen clearly in the statement that the Secretary of State for International Trade gave on Monday, and I was here in a thinly attended Chamber to listen to it. He outlined his decisions on trade protections following a flawed consultation on EU trade remedies that was begun over 18 months ago, when conditions, perceptions, knowledge and understanding of Brexit were, to say the least, a little different from today. According to the statement, we are abandoning most existing trade protections on the basis of criteria that have produced some pretty serendipitous results. Without repeating the details, which are available in Hansard, I am sure that the ironing board industry is mightily pleased with the continuing specific protection for that particular industry, while parts of the steel industry may be less happy. Participants in other sectors, particularly small-scale businesses, may be as unaware of Monday’s outcome as they were of the initial consultation, because the responses to it were few.
On Monday, a former Secretary of State for Wales praised the statement as
“An excellent statement with a good balance”—[Official Report,
Vol. 655, c. 54.]
All I can say is that he is much more easily pleased than the people of Wales. Indeed, if the statement impressed John Redwood, it was probably not in my nation’s best interests, and the same applies to the whole sorry Brexit saga.