Ruth Cadbury urges Government to allow MPs to scrutinise Brexit trade deals
July 23, 2020/ by Matt Smith
Ruth Cadbury has called on the Government to allow MPs to scrutinise any future trade deals that the UK negotiates after leaving the EU.
Speaking during a debate on the Trade Bill on Monday 20 July, she cited the impact that these trade deals would have on our economy, public services and the environment. Ruth called on MPs to ‘have a say, with full accountability’ over these deals.
She highlighted two examples where oversight was needed. The first: the possible lowering of vehicle safety standards in the event of a US-UK trade deal, as vehicle standards in the US are lower with features such as bull bars being allowed.
The second: the risk that environmental protections get swept away under ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlements’ which allow private companies to sue governments.
Speaking after the Trade Bill debate, Ruth said:
“I know from the hundreds of constituents who’ve contacted me about this issue how worried local residents are that we won’t have enough scrutiny of future trade deals.
“Without full accountability we could see trade deals being used to sell off chunks of our NHS, sweep away environmental protections and lower food standards. As we leave the EU I remain extremely worried that the Government will chase after trade deals without any concern for the negative impact they will have.”
“I made clear in my speech that the Government should allow MPs, as elected representatives, to provide full scrutiny of all trade deals. Other countries like Germany, New Zealand and the US allow for this- so why can’t the UK?”
‘Protect the NHS’
An amendment was tabled by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas which was supported by the Labour Leader Keir Starmer and many Labour MPs, including Ruth Cadbury.
The amendment was voted down by a margin of 340 to 241 due to the government’s parliamentary majority.
In addition to protecting the NHS from any foreign interference, the amendment also contained several other measures designed to protect the NHS such as:
– Ensuring the ability to provide a “comprehensive and publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery” was not compromised by any future trade deal
– Protecting hard-working NHS staff from having their wages or rights slashed by any future trade deal
– Protecting the quality and safety of health and care services
– Regulating the control and pricing of medicines
– Protecting patient data from being sold off
“After the Government rejected amendments that would have allowed for this full scrutiny , I voted against the Trade Bill” said Ruth Cadbury.
”I will continue to raise the importance of oversight over future trade deals and will keep standing up on this important issue.’’