Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, has called on the Government to ‘re-energise’ its approach to international trade in a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday 1stMay.
Exports of goods and services currently account for around 30 per cent of the UK’s GDP, and millions of jobs depend on continuing access to foreign markets. One in four British SMEs are involved either directly or indirectly in exporting overseas.
As things stand, MPs have no guaranteed say over trade deals. Parliament is not involved with setting a mandate for negotiations, there is no transparency during negotiations and deals can be ratified without a Parliamentary vote. This is due to a 1920s convention called the ‘Ponsonby Rule’, which is enshrined in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRAG). CRAG does not give MPs a guaranteed debate, vote or role in a setting a mandate.
Faisal called on the government to allow parliament a greater say in future trade deals, and to promote a just trading agenda committed to upholding social and environmental standards.
Faisal Rashid said:
“A better future is possible and re-thinking our approach to trade is the key to unlocking it. That is why I call on the government to re-energise our approach to trade.
“I have had countless conversations with dynamic businesses and talented, enterprising workers. I see a lot of great, untapped trading potential in my own Warrington South constituency. But we need to do more the maximise the opportunities afforded to these businesses overseas.
“We should reject the failed doctrines of free trade orthodoxy and Trump’s tariff wars to promote a just trade agenda, with an active state committed to upholding social and environmental standards. We must align our international trade policy with a comprehensive industrial strategy, creating opportunities at home and abroad which provide access to a range of skilled and well-paid jobs.
“Britain’s international trading practices can reflect our core values of mutual respect and shared prosperity.
“In an era when unilateralism and protectionism is on the rise, it is now more important than ever that we reject self-imposed isolation and explore fresh opportunities for UK businesses overseas.”
View Faisal’s full speech here: (link available soon).