A new cross-party group comprising of MPs, business leaders and economic exports is being established to provide independent scrutiny of the UK’s trade deals with Europe and the rest of the world.
The Trade and Business Commission will be co-convened by Labour MP Hilary Benn and the chairman of Virgin Group, Peter Norris.
It will bring together 11 MPs from nine parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will initially assess the economic impact of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and other UK trade deals.
The group will also take written and oral evidence from expert witnesses, businesses and the public, to hear from a broad range of voices representing different sectors of the UK economy, from financial services to manufacturing, and from across the political spectrum.
Benn said: “The latest analysis from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility has laid bare the economic consequences of the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, and the long-term implications for wages and growth.
“This underlines the importance of subjecting this agreement and other trade deals to independent scrutiny.
“By bringing together MPs from across all four nations of the UK and businesses representatives, we aim to provide a detailed assessment of the UK’s approach to international trade and to offer practical suggestions as to how things can be improved.”
Conservative MP Roger Gale, who will also sit on the commission, said: “The impact of the UK’s new trading arrangements with Europe and the world are being felt by businesses in every sector and communities in every corner of the country.
“We will be looking in detail at the impact of these deals, particularly upon the small businesses that are bearing the brunt of new red tape at our borders.
“This is about setting ideology aside and finding a pragmatic, evidence-based way forward. We want to ensure opportunities are seized to promote frictionless trade and to help the UK economy bounce back from the pandemic.”