Umunna – Government’s trade and food safety policies in chaos

The Government’s trade policy is in “chaos”, the Open Britain campaign says, after a day in which the Environment Secretary, the Foreign Secretary and the International Trade Secretary appeared in front of House of Commons select committees. 

Liam Fox said today that he had “no objections” to American chlorinated chicken being legalised in the UK as the result of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove contradicted him and said chlorinated chicken should not be included in such a deal. While Boris Johnson admitted the US Government would drive a “very hard bargain” in negotiations.

Neither Johnson nor Fox could guarantee that trade deals the UK already has with 65 countries through our membership of the EU will be continued from the day we leave, while chief trade negotiator Crawford Falconer raised the possibility that such deals could be renegotiated; despite previous claims from Government Ministers that these deals would be rolled over easily. 

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The Government’s policy on trade and food safety after Brexit is in chaos. While the Trade Secretary is declaring that flocks of potentially unsafe chlorinated chicken could soon be flying onto UK supermarket shelves, the Environment Secretary says they wouldn’t be allowed under any future UK-US trade deal.

“Meanwhile the Foreign Secretary admits that the US will drive a very hard bargain in trade talks with the UK. As he knows, the reality is that there will be severe pressure from US negotiators to lower our food standards and open up the NHS to competition from American companies. 

“And both the Foreign Secretary and Liam Fox’s chief trade adviser have conceded that trade deals we have with 65 countries through our membership of the EU may be changed or even lapsed, instead of being rolled over seamlessly as they once promised. 

“Nobody said during the referendum that leaving the EU would mean jeopardising our food safety standards or losing free trade agreements. Voters have the right to look at these new facts coming to light and decide if the realities of Brexit match up with what they were promised. If not, people have the right to change their minds."