Implementation of international trade agreements

Part of Trade Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade) 11:45 am, 25th June 2020

My hon. Friend has always grounded his remarks in reality. Let us remember that Conservative Ministers and Members have always wanted to present trade negotiations as a Christmas sale, where one just turns up and gets a shedload of lovely bargains. They have not, as yet, been open and honest with the British people about the trade-offs that trade negotiations inevitably bring, on which—I suspect this afternoon—more anon.

I gently suggest to my hon. Friend that we are likely to hear the Minister, in his wind-up speech, chastising us again for our lack of belief in the calibre of the Secretary of State himself and the Department to complete these UK-specific trade agreements. If the Committee remembers when the last Trade Bill was discussed, so confident were the previous ministerial team that this power was actually not quite as necessary as first appeared, they agreed to reduce the sunset period from five years to three years. One can only assume that the Cabinet Secretary got back on the phone after the current Prime Minister was selected and said, “I’m really sorry to bring you bad news, but one of the chief acolytes of the little-lamented George Osborne is back in your Department—”