I have joined the UK Trade and Business Commission, a new cross-party group of senior MPs and business leaders, which has been established to scrutinise the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and other new trade deals. We launched the Commission today with a public evidence session, questioning economists over the impact of the Brexit deal.
The Commission is made up of MPs from every party in Westminster, together with business leaders – including the Chair of the Virgin Group, CEO of the Trafalgar Group, and the Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium – and leading academics.
It is chaired by Hilary Benn MP, who formerly led the House of Commons Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the EU, and we will hold the Government accountable for its deal with the EU and other post-Brexit trade deals; an area on which it has continually rejected parliamentary oversight. It will explore practical solutions to the problems caused by flaws in the Brexit deal and make recommendations to Government on the action needed to protect jobs and the economy.
After four years scrutinising the Government’s negotiations with the EU as a Shadow Brexit Minister, I’m pleased to put that experience to good use. I’ve heard directly from local companies on the difficulties they’re facing and I hope others will contact me too.
There were many ways of getting Brexit done, but this flawed deal has created too many barriers for business. We’ve seen the loss of jobs and trade dismissed by Ministers as ‘teething problems’, but the Commission will provide a platform for sustained scrutiny to ensure that Government is accountable, and in making constructive recommendations for improvements.