Emily Thornberry has accused ministers of “sheer bumbling incompetence” while challenging the government over its failure to secure necessary continuity agreements facilitating trade with other countries post-Brexit.
Addressing MPs in parliament this afternoon, the Shadow Secretary for International Trade highlighted that, with just six weeks to go until the end of the transition period, 15 agreements worth £80bn of UK trade still need to be signed.
She said: “Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this question on an issue that should never have become urgent. The government has literally had years to protect our free trade with countries like Canada, Singapore and Mexico.”
Thornberry stressed that parliamentary scrutiny will now be curtailed. Under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, international treaties must be laid before parliament 21 sitting days before they can be ratified.
The Shadow Secretary said: “15 agreements that have been left so late that government will now have to ride roughshod over the rules of parliamentary scrutiny to implement them in time… Why do we find ourselves in this sorry mess?”