Thank you for your e-mail about the upcoming Trade Bill and protecting our food standards.
When the Trade Bill returns the Commons in the coming weeks, I will closely study what amendments the House of Lords have put down. I will also be interested to see how the Government positions itself in response. As in July, I still support attempts to give Parliament the ability to approve trade deals. It is vital that MPs from all parties have an opportunity to scrutinise these deals. Strong parliamentary scrutiny begets good governance. For example, I have continued to vote to uphold animal health and welfare, environmental and food standards in new trade deals. I feel very strongly about this, so much so that I voted against the Government on these issues on a number of occasions.
I am very supportive of the principles of parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals but I would like to see final details of the amendments that the House of Lords proposes to the Bill and whether the Government is willing to make any compromises, I am reluctant to commit to something that is yet to come into view. That said I will be looking closely at the amendments and specifically those such as the one you raise that look at standards including animal health and welfare and food production. The Trade and Agriculture Commission will have an important role in this and again is the subject of some of the amendments. I have raised the importance of scrutinising FTAs in a meeting with the Trade Minister recently and you may have seen I asked about placing a list of unacceptable products into FTAs:
Equally, the Commons EFRA Select Committee, on which I sit, will be having a look at some aspects of FTAs as they come before parliament.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me and I am glad we agree that parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals is crucial.