Labour “refuses to believe in the benefits of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.”
Greg Hands, the trade minister, ripped at Labour last night for clinging to Brussels rather than embracing the benefits of Brexit. He claims that the party refuses to “believe in Britain’s potential” to set out as an independent trade nation, and that it is ignoring the global opportunities that choosing to leave will bring.
After Shadow Foreign Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry questioned whether it made “sense” to devote “all this energy” into securing international treaties, Mr Hands spoke out. Ms Thornberry said the EU would still be Labour’s top trade priority five years after the UK instructed the government to leave.
Despite Sir Keir Starmer’s claim that Labour has embraced Brexit and moved on, Mr Hands claims that the party’s “leadership team continues to fixate on old differences.”
“It defies belief that Labour’s trade secretary argues we shouldn’t waste energy on trade arrangements with the rest of the world and should instead focus on the EU, with whom we already have a trade deal,” he continued.
“It demonstrates that, even now, Starmer’s Labour Party refuses to believe in Britain’s ability to develop new trade and jobs with our allies around the world, preferring instead to concentrate solely on trade with the EU.”
Last Christmas Eve, the government reached an agreement with the EU on trade.
However, Ms Thornberry, one of Labour’s most fervent Remain supporters, stated that her top goal was to “repair the major trade deal” with the EU.
“I would start by attempting to fix the trade deal we already have with the European Union,” she added. Rather than wasting time pursuing minor trade agreements that make little difference.”
Ms Thornberry, speaking at the Institute for Government think tank, questioned the 11-country Pacific free trade bloc’s £9 billion membership fee (CPTPP).
“Does it make any sense to devote all this energy into UK participation of the CPTPP and so little energy into repairing the faults in our arrangement with Europe?” Ms Thornberry said.
It comes as the UK agreed to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as a “dialogue partner,” giving it high-level access to the bloc’s summits.
The UK’s deeper ties with the 10-member bloc, according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, is a “landmark moment” for the country.
Our country has made fantastic trade accords all across the world.
These include long-term friendships and “Brinkwire Summary News.”