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No-Deal Brexit: Schedule of Tariffs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Conor Burns Conor Burns The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 4:33 pm, 7th October 2019

Well, goodness me! We heard not a single word about what the Opposition would do to support the Government in trying to get a deal. We heard no word of compromise. We heard flip-flop after flip-flop, with not a single constructive suggestion from the shadow Secretary of State. Why am I not remotely surprised by that?

The hon. Gentleman talks about a lack of interest. [Interruption.] If Lesley Laird stopped chuntering and listened, she might hear something. The shadow Secretary of State said there was no interest in trade agreements. What does he think is going on with the United States? With Australia? With New Zealand? Everywhere that I have travelled in this role, I have discovered an enormous interest in what our withdrawal from the European Union means not just for the United Kingdom, but for our ability to do bilateral trade agreements with other countries. As I said in reply to my right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State, we have transitioned over 72% of UK trade in continuity agreements, which will protect us in the event of a no-deal Brexit—which is something that the hon. Gentleman seems determined to advocate, given his lack of support for the Prime Minister.

The hon. Gentleman talks about the Trade Remedies Authority. There is not a single member of the civil service working today who was working in the civil service the last time the United Kingdom had her own independent trade body. The fact that we have established the Trade Remedies Authority, which I visited several weeks ago—[Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman took a bit of time to understand his brief, he would understand very clearly—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman laughs. He should be laughing at himself, because he does not understand the very policy that he shadows. The body is created. The body can function temporarily without the passage of the Trade Bill in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as he should know, and then we will put it on a statutory footing when we introduce a new trade Bill in a new Session of Parliament.

The shadow Minister talked about all the things that we have not done. Let us talk about some of the things that he said he would do. He said that he would respect the referendum. He did not. He said that he would implement the decision of the British people. He will not. What we will do is take the opportunities of having an independent trade policy—the opportunity to sign bilateral trade agreements and the opportunity of free trade—to deliver prosperity to our citizens.