Government dismisses calls to provide economic analysis of Brext deal

Liz Truss and Emily Thornberry debate Brexit deals

Liz Truss and Emily Thornberry debate Brexit deals - Credit: Parliament Live

The government has dismissed calls from Labour to publish the economic impact assessment of Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: “Over the last two years the government has placed, as the Secretary of State tells us frequently, more than 30 new trade agreements before the House.

“Every single one of them, of course, has been accompanied by an economic impact assessment.

“And the Secretary of State’s October agreement with Japan set a new standard for these documents with over 100 pages analysing the impact of the deal on UK exports, jobs, business and growth.

“So can I simply ask when is the Government going to publish the economic impact assessment for the UK’s trade agreement with the European Union?”

But international trade secretary Truss insisted her department was not responsible for negotiating the deal with the EU, adding “full data” has been released.

Truss replied: “The honourable lady will be well aware that the Department for International Trade is not responsible for negotiating the agreement with the EU, that’s a matter for Taskforce Europe and they have provided full data to this House and the House voted for the deal, including I’m delighted to see, the honourable lady.”

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Thornberry added: “I wasn’t asking if she was responsible, I was just thinking since she was in the cabinet that she might know when this impact assessment was going to be published.”

The Labour frontbencher also called for more accountability over the ratification of trade deals, pointing to agreements with Cameroon, which had little attention in the Commons.

Thornberry told Truss: "Can she understand why members on all sides of this House also believe that there is a need for new laws next Tuesday obliging the government to take proper account of human rights when negotiating and ratifying new trade agreements?”

But the minister snapped back: “Well I had hoped that (Thornberry) would have welcomed our announcement earlier this week on the action we’re taking on forced labour in Xinjiang and making sure that Britain upholds its values when trading internationally.

“But I would ask (Thornberry) to consider some of her previous actions, such as sharing a platform with Hamas and refusing to criticise Fidel Castro’s abhorrent human rights abuses.

“It’s a bit much being lectured by a Labour member on human rights given her past record.”

The exchanged prompted a rebuke from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who said that Truss must "do better" with her answers.

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