Continuity Trade Agreements: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:37 pm on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade) 12:37 pm, 17th November 2020

The problem here is not simply the incomplete deals; it is the process we are following, which is not fit for purpose. MPs have no ability to vote to amend our negotiating mandate. As the Minister said, the Government report voluntarily, normally at the end of a negotiating stage to tell us that everything is great, but with no information about obstacles overcome or new obstacles emerging. Perhaps towards the end of a negotiation, the negotiators go into a tunnel from which no information emerges unless it is leaked to provide leverage, which is profoundly unhelpful. We are then offered a vote on a short take-it-or-leave-it debate—again, with no ability to amend or to reflect or represent constituents or sectoral interests. Finally, we find out, normally from the foreign press, as was the case with Switzerland and Norway, that the deal is not what the Government trumpeted it to be.

I ask the Minister, briefly, what action will he take to expedite the outstanding deals? What action will he take to mitigate the potential tariff and quota costs on some £80 billion of trade? More importantly, what action will the Government take because CRaG is not fit for purpose and we need a new system that allows MPs scrutiny and the ability to amend?