Reaction to the Trade Bill second reading vote in parliament

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018

The government's Trade Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons this evening by 313 votes to 280, with Labour's reasoned amendment to the Bill defeated by 313 votes to 281.

Reacting to the vote, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:

"We’re really pleased that the opposition parties tried to halt the passage of the Trade Bill today. Of course we’re disappointed that their efforts failed, but this is just the start. Over the next few weeks we will work with politicians of all parties to get this Bill amended and make sure parliament has control of trade policy after Brexit."

“It’s totally unacceptable that a modern democracy would hand over complete control of trade policy to a single government minister and leave parliament with no right to scrutinise, guide, amend or stop trade deals. It’s equally unacceptable that the public have no right to be consulted on trade policy and that the government have no duty to conduct public impact assessments. Given that trade policy today covers everything from food standards, to how we run public services, to how local government can spend our taxes, this is a major democratic deficit that needs to be rectified.

“Many MPs recognised the scale of this democratic deficit today, and we thank them for their contributions in the debate. We will work with them in the coming weeks to make sure the government doesn’t get away with this attempted power grab.”