We had our stall out again this month, campaigning to alert people to the dangers of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US and enjoying the sounds of a steel band and a community choir.
I wrote to my MP, Kate Green (Lab, Stretford & Urmston) expressing concern about the Trade Bill going through Parliament; namely the lack of accountability to Parliament in this Bill and any future trade deals following Brexit. So-called ‘Henry VIII’ powers would be used by government ministers to rush through trade agreements and alterations to EU laws without parliamentary debate and scrutiny.
Ms Green assured me that she herself was a sponsor of an amendment (NC3) aimed to ensure this did not happen.
She goes as far as to say that MPs should have access to the negotiating texts of international trade agreements as they are formulated. And that all documents relating to trade negotiations should be listed on the parliamentary website, as they are in other European parliaments.
I find this very encouraging, and am certain that my MP is strong advocate of the very position taken on these matters by GMTAN.
Afzal Khan (Labour, Gorton) however, despite having been lobbied in Parliament and given us a photos at the Trade Bill Takedown had to be chivied to reply to a request to co-sponsor the amendment.
“…This is something that we have been pressing on the Government since the bill received its second reading in parliament on the 9th of January.
I am pleased that New Clause 3 has been tabled now prior to Report Stage of the Bill and replicated many of the amendments that and my Labour colleagues tabled at the committee stage. If it is one of the amendments selected at Report Stage by the Speaker then I will be supporting it.
I was disappointed that the Government’s Trade Bill did not include such measures when it was introduced to the House of Commons, and that is why I opposed it at Second Reading. I was further disappointed that at Committee Stage the Government voted down Opposition amendments that would have precisely ensured proper oversight by Parliament. As a front bench spokesperson I am unable to sign Early Day Motions. However, I will continue to press for proper transparency and scrutiny of trade deals both in the Trade Bill and when the Government sets out its policy on future trade deals thereafter. …”
Stephen Pennells, GJ Manc.