On Tuesday 17 July, the Trade Bill was debated at its report stage in the House of Commons. I received hundreds of emails from constituents prior to this asking me to support various different amendments, so I thought it would be useful to outline the outcome of some key votes here.
The Trade Bill is an important piece of legislation which will largely determine our trade agreements post-Brexit. It presents an opportunity to pave the way for inward investment, leading to economic growth and job creation in the UK.
I believe that our trade agreements should be fully consistent with our international obligations on human rights, labour rights and the rights of women and children, as well as with the Sustainable Development Goals, environmental treaties and animal welfare.
However, the Trade Bill in its current form fails to do so and stands as yet another power grab by ministers. For this reason, I voted for New Clause 3 which sought to introduce a scrutiny framework. The amendment was tabled by Caroline Lucas but replicated Labour’s amendment at committee stage, using largely the same wording. Sadly, this amendment was defeated by 284 votes to 314.
My Labour colleagues and I also worked hard to win a crucial vote (New Clause 18) which would have kept the UK inside the customs union in the absence of a new trade arrangement. I was incredibly disappointed that this amendment was defeated by 307 to 301 votes.
I was, however, extremely pleased that we won an amendment over medicines regulation (New Clause 17) by 305 to 301 votes.
You can read the full transcript of the debate and view the outcome of all other votes here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-07-17/debates/22F367BF-2DAA-4637-B1DD-15FC2FF8A88C/TradeBill
Overall, I believe that the Trade Bill is simply not fit for purpose and I therefore voted against it. The Bill was however passed by 317 to 286 votes and will proceed to its Third Reading.