Tag Archives: Constitutional Reform and Governance Act

Sarah Olney MP writes: Elected MPs must be given a say on trade deals

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The Trade Bill is ping ponging its way back to the House of Commons today for MPs to consider the latest set of Lords amendments. One of these is Lord Lansley’s new scrutiny amendment that combines many of the elements of Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Purvis’s scrutiny amendment, which was previously voted down in the Commons.

The scrutiny amendment proposes that governments will have to publish their negotiating objectives for future trade treaties in advance and have them voted on in both houses of Parliament. This amendment is crucial because the existing process for parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals is highly inadequate.

The Bill fails to set out proper procedures for Parliamentary consultation, scrutiny, debate, and approval of future international trade agreements. MPs will have no say over any agreement made with other countries, giving the Government free rein on deals. Despite the inherent impact of trade deals upon human rights, public health, food standards and more, MPs will be barred from voicing their concerns and representing their constituents’ views. In comparison to the US, EU and Japan, which all provide guaranteed debates and votes on new trade agreements to their legislative representatives, the UK will seem embarrassingly undemocratic.

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