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Angus Brendan MacNeil MP: It is important we keep the good reputation we had in the last Parliament

3 min read

I am ready to continue as chair of the International Trade Committee and foster an atmosphere of getting work done, writes Angus Brendan MacNeil MP

I am standing for the International Trade Committee chairmanship as, clearly, international trade and the governance of international trade is becoming an increasingly important issue for the United Kingdom. It is something we must get right for all parts of the UK – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

In the last Parliament I had a committee composed of Conservatives, Labour and DUP and we worked harmoniously together as we discovered and waded through many of the nuances of trade and trade agreements, and upshots from these changes in trade.

I often joked in the last Parliament that this month I know more about trade and Brexit than I did the month before, and next month I will know more. I think this applied to all in the committee. We were always very grateful to the academic experts, industry experts and to the witnesses who came before the committee to help us illuminate what was ahead of us.

“I have already had contact with the Department for International Trade about just how we will scrutinise trade bills going forward”

Of course, the new committee will sound warnings to the Government when necessary. We will hold the Government to account, but we will also help to shape the agenda and look for ways forward when appropriate.

Being the chair and the only member of my own political party on the committee required a collegiate set of skills. What’s more, my former committee was divided over Remain and Leave, but I think it’s important to foster an atmosphere of getting work done, allowing witnesses to speak and using their evidence to bring forward proposals. 

There are many contacts in the international trade arena who have been very useful, not just to our committee but to subsequent committees also. In this Parliament, things will be changing completely; it will be a ramp up from the theoretical to the practical stage.

I have already had contact with the Department for International Trade about just how we will scrutinise trade bills going forward, and I know that a number of senior colleagues and new colleagues in the House from all parties are interested in being on the committee.

If re-elected, I look forward to working with all those who are on the committee and to receiving input from those not on the committee.

Whatever political persuasion you come from, we have got to get this right because this is not about political parties, this is about the aerospace industry, pharmaceuticals, car manufacturers, food and drink exports, the entertainment industry and the ceramics industry, among many others.

Many outside the House will be watching the committee, so it is important we continue with the good reputation we had in the last Parliament. I am ready to continue to help foster that, and to achieve that end.

Angus Brendan MacNeil is SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar

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