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 Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 12:37 pm, 17th November 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the rather more thoughtful questions than those of the official Opposition. Of course, to be fair to him, he voted against CRaG. In fact, he, I and Emily Thornberry were all elected in the same year, 2005. He voted against CRaG, which is fair enough, and the right hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury and I voted for it. I can understand his consistency in being opposed to the process. However, we are confident that it represents a robust way of ratifying trade agreements and of Parliament having its say.

Not only that, but we have added to the CRaG process by publishing a scoping analysis and a likely economic impact assessment in advance of the deal, made written ministerial statements after each round, and then publishing an impact assessment when the deal is finally done which gets sent off to the International Trade Committee and the EU International Agreements Sub-Committee in the other place. We have gone far further than CRaG.

I will also say this about SNP Members. Once again, they are complaining about these deals not being rolled over, but they are all deals that they have either not supported or abstained on. They abstained on EU-Japan. They abstained on EU-Singapore. They are against EU-Canada. They are against EU-South Africa. They are against EU-Korea. In fact, I have gone back 15 years, and I cannot find a single trade deal that the SNP has ever supported or voted for, so it is a bit rich for the hon. Gentleman to come along today and say that the deals have not been rolled over—none of which he supported in the first place. The SNP is anti-trade, it is hellbent on breaking up our Union and it is against Scotland’s best economic interests.