Brexit: Tory backbenchers defeated in attempt to put any future trade deals through parliament

Clause rejected by 263 votes to 326

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 21 July 2020 15:01 BST
Minister says laws barring chlorinated chicken 'won't change' after US trade deal despite No 10 dropping pledge.mp4

MPs have defeated an attempt by Tory backbenchers to ensure parliament has a vote on any post-Brexit trade deal.

An amendment to the Trade Bill currently going through the Commons would have given MPs and peers a say on any new agreement signed by the government.

Jonathan Djanogly, the Conservative MP who led the rebellion, had argued that the US congress approves similar deals.

He accused the government of taking a position of “less scrutiny than we did as a member of the EU”, because EU trade deals are subject to a vote in the European Parliament.

Although his amendment was supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats it failed to attract enough Tory rebels to pass.

The clause was rejected by 263 votes to 326, a majority of 63.

During the debate, shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson said the lack of scrutiny threatened to leave the health service "wide open to pharmaceutical giants" and to "undermine" farmers and consumers.

International trade minister Greg Hands insisted the government was "committed to transparency" when it came to the scrutiny of international agreements. During the debate on the Trade Bill, an MP was forced to apologise after he said food in shops had to be affordable for the "housewife to buy".

The DUP's Paul Girvan, the MP for South Antrim, was arguing in favour of retaining the UK’s high food standards.

But he added that the UK should aim to “ensure that we have a product which is still viable and still economically possible for the housewife to buy”.

He added: "I've used the wrong term, I apologise, but those that are buying in their basket, their basket of food in the supermarket, they will definitely be able to get the best value for it."

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