MPs demand veto powers over post-Brexit trade deals

Posted On: 
28th December 2018

MPs should be given veto powers on all post-Brexit trade deals, a powerful Commons committee has suggested.

MPs have called for parliament to have a 'meaningful vote' on post-Brexit trade deals

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Ministers will formally begin negotiations on new trade deals once the UK leaves the EU in March, with the agreements due to come into force in 2021 at the end of the transition period.

But a new report from the International Trade Committee has called for parliament to be given a ‘meaningful vote’ on all trade deals negotiated by the government after the UK exits the bloc.

The document added that parliament, business, civil society, and the devolved governments should all be allowed a greater say on how new trade deals are developed, with frequent consultations held by the Government throughout the process.

There has been an on-going row over food standards post-Brexit, with campaigners raising concerns the UK could be forced to accept lower quality products - such as chlorine washed chicken from the US - in order to clinch trade deals with other countries.

The report suggests the government should lay an amendable motion in the Commons before the start of negotiations, giving MPs the chance to guide the approach taken by negotiators.

Committee chair SNP MP Angus MacNeil, said the Government should act with “transparency over secrecy” when negotiating any new deals.

“These agreements have the potential to affect every part of the every UK citizens life - from the quality of the food we eat to the money in our pocket,” he said.

‘We have seen what happens when the public and parliament are deliberately kept in the dark over trade negotiations.

“With so much to gain or lose, everyone has the right to be heard.

“Current government plans for the transparency and scrutiny of future trade negotiations are characteristically vague and attempt to dress poor planning up as pragmatism.

He added: “Our report makes an unequivocal argument for transparency over secrecy, consultation over concealment, and parliamentary debate over simple rubber-stamping.