Britain in the World

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:32 pm on 13th January 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green 7:32 pm, 13th January 2020

Indeed. The shadow Foreign Secretary made the point that the Queen’s Speech is sufficiently vague in its wording that anything is possible. I think that is perhaps where some of us have a concern. We need to hear the exact detail of the policy proposals so that we can better understand what direction we are actually travelling in.

After Brexit, the UK will lose much of its leverage during trade talks, as concessions will need to be made now that we are not part of the EU. Britain’s role in a post-Brexit world is yet to be determined, and the Queen’s Speech does not go into nearly enough detail in setting that out. There are of course opportunities in an ever-evolving world, where emerging markets may present light at the end of a Brexit tunnel, but there are real risks in fragmenting our long-term defence and security relationships with the European member states—that basis of friendship. The trade picture is one of uncertainty and promises of jam tomorrow, against a backdrop of a coasting domestic economy. Leaving the predictable family of the European Union will make the promotion of human rights and ethical foreign policy doubly difficult, and in my view will go down in history as a gross mistake and an act of national self-harm.