• Scrutinising Trade Agreements

    05 June 2019

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about scrutinising trade agreements.

    I absolutely understand the need for scrutiny of trade agreements as we leave the European Union. It is vital that Parliament, the devolved administrations, businesses, and the public from every part of the UK, have the opportunity to contribute to our country’s trade policy. That is why I welcome the announcement of comprehensive measures to ensure that all future trade agreements are negotiated in a transparent and inclusive way.

    Public consultations will run for 14 weeks ahead of any negotiations for new trade agreements commencing, ensuring that any individual or organisation across the UK can have their say over the negotiating aims. The Government will publish an ‘Outline Approach’, detailing the high-level objectives and scope before any negotiations begin. As negotiations progress, Parliament will be closely involved through regular ministerial statements and updates to the International Trade Committee.

    Once negotiations are concluded, any final trade agreement will need to be ratified by Parliament, under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. As part of this process, the treaty will be laid before Parliament, alongside an Explanatory Memorandum summarising the content of each trade agreement. An impact assessment will also be published at the appropriate juncture.

    In order to implement any new trade agreement, in cases which require changes to domestic legislation and where there are no existing powers to achieve this, the Government will bring forward a bespoke piece of primary legislation. Parliament will scrutinise this new legislation in the same way that all other primary legislation is scrutinised.

    I am confident that these measures will ensure that both Parliament and the public have the opportunity to have their say over the future of our country’s trade policy.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon

    Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons