956 reasons why the Scottish parliament should say no to the UK Trade Bill
We’ve just got back from the Scottish parliament where we presented an open letter to MSPs signed by 956 people and 23 organisations all calling on the Scottish parliament to withhold its consent for the UK government’s Trade Bill unless it’s amended to give Scotland a say in trade deals. People here are worried about this issue – and rightly so.
In its Trade Bill, the UK government is proposing being able to make post-Brexit trade deals behind closed doors. Given that it was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the controversial EU-US trade deal TTIP, and is likely to base future trade deals on that model, then it’s absolutely vital that things are brought out into the open and that the public and parliamentarians have a say – including here in Scotland.
We know for sure that future trade deals negotiated by the UK will have impacts here in Scotland: on our NHS, our food safety standards and our laws to protect workers rights and the environment.
Scotland has regularly been the first nation in the UK to bring in stronger public policy legislation: from banning smoking in public places, to the extended moratorium on fracking, to greenhouse gas emissions targets. The NHS in Scotland is less privatised than in England, our water remains in public hands and we have don’t have student tuition fees. All those things could be at risk from TTIP-style, post-Brexit trade deals.
So, unless the Trade Bill is amended to give parliamentarians a say, then we say that the Scottish parliament should withhold its consent for the bill.