‘Defeat for democracy’ as MPs vote to give away control of trade deals

Tuesday, 17 July, 2018
  • Trade Democracy amendment voted down by 314-284

  • Campaigners vow to take struggle to the Lords

An amendment by Caroline Lucas MP (NC3) to give parliament control of post-Brexit trade deals was defeated by 30 votes in the House of Commons this afternoon as MPs debated the Trade Bill. Other amendments to give devolved administrations statutory powers over trade were also defeated before the Trade Bill debate moved on to discuss the customs unions.

Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now said:
“Over the last year we have put democratic control of trade deals on the political agenda and we’re pleased with the support we’ve received from MPs. We even forced the government to make promises about public consultation, impact assessments and letting parliament know what their trade strategy consists of.

"This is important, but Caroline Lucas’ amendment today would have given MPs the ability to scrutinise, change and if necessary stop bad trade deals. Unfortunately on the big question, the government has refused to give real power over trade deals to parliament. This is a defeat for democracy.

“We certainly haven’t given up hope. The Bill now goes to the House of Lords in September and we will continue to fight for parliament’s right to hold the government to account for trade policy.

“Trade deals can affect everyone in society – our food standards, our NHS, our ability to protect the environment and so much more. It’s not right that MPs don’t have proper oversight of these issues. It’s not right that they can’t see what’s being negotiated in our name. It’s not right that they wouldn’t have the power to stop a trade deal as bad as TTIP, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership.

“With some MPs today calling for us to defy geography, and join the equally awful Transpacific Partnership, toxic trade deals are a real threat. So it can’t possibly be right that our MPs will, after Brexit, have far less power over trade policy than MEPs or the US Congress. We will continue to work for trade democracy.”

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