Liam Fox's Trade Bill makes a mockery of democracy

Tuesday, 7 November, 2017
  • Trade Bill tabled morning after consultation deadline on Trade White Paper
  • 60,000 objections made to lack of clear role for MPs in scrutinising trade deals

Commenting on the Trade Bill announce this morning by the Department for International Trade, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now said:

"Liam Fox has today shown utter contempt for the public and parliament by publishing the trade bill before the ink is even dry on tens of thousands of responses to his own consultation. People across the political spectrum have been calling for a clearly defined role for MPs in scrutinising trade deals after Brexit, rather than giving Liam Fox the power to bargain away rights and protections on everything from food safety to the NHS.

“By tabling this dog's breakfast of a trade bill today, Fox is making a mockery of democracy, and giving the lie to the pledge that Brexit would restore parliamentary sovereignty. We now have a matter of months to prevent a government which aggressively pushed TTIP, the hated EU-US trade deal, from giving Liam Fox a free hand to introduce TTIP on steroids.

“Just yesterday US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross was in London talking of a trade ‘partnership’ with the UK after Brexit. Coming from a man known as 'the bankruptcy king' during his history of vulture capitalism, these are not reassuring words. He will be free to feed off the carcass of Brexit Britain unless MPs have the power to stop him.”

More than 60,000 people responded to the Trade White Paper consultation, which closed yesterday, calling for steps to make trade policy more democratic after Brexit.

More than 100 MPs from all opposition parties, as well as the DUP, have signed EDM 128 calling for a range of measures to subject trade deals after Brexit to proper parliamentary scrutiny. It is the third most popular motion out of over 500 in the session.

Global Justice Now is a member of the Trade Justice Movement, which will be launching its Trade Democracy campaign in Parliament on Tuesday 21 November.

Notes

1. A total of more than 60,000 people emailed and petitioned the Trade White Paper consultation via campaign groups Global Justice Now, War on Want, 38 Degrees and SumOfUs.

2. Early Day Motion 128 calls for:

  • The right of Parliament to set a thorough mandate to govern each trade negotiation, with a remit for the devolved administrations
  • The right of the public to be consulted as part of setting that mandate
  • A presumption of full transparency in negotiations
  • The right of Parliament to amend and to reject trade deals, with full debates and scrutiny guaranteed and a remit for the devolved administrations
  • The right of Parliament to review trade deals and withdraw from them in a timely manner.

See https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/128


Photo: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament