Today, Liberal Democrats will oppose the Government's Trade Bill, having tabled an amendment which would prevent the bill from progressing.
The Party is opposing the legislation not only on the grounds of a lack of Parliamentary scrutiny, but it contains no underlying principles that could form the basis of negotiations for future trade deals. For example, issues such as environmental standards, employment and animal welfare standards, or international development goals are ignored.
Ahead of the Trade Bill's second reading, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business and Trade, Sarah Olney, said:
"The passage of the Trade Bill today will give the Government total freedom to make whatever trade deal they like, with whomever they like, with no accountability. They are trying to sneak through the legislation whilst they think no one is looking.
"The passage of this bill will mean that MPs are denied scrutiny of the UK’s future trade deals, leaving them with less power to agree trade deals than MEPs had within the EU. Equally, there is no mention of any national priorities for the basis of a future trade deal, when climate requirements or employment and animal welfare standards should be at the forefront of any negotiation.
"The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose this legislation for as long as the Government continues to try and prevent Parliament from playing an essential role in how future trade deals are agreed. Until the Government ensures proper accountability for Ministers and that our basic welfare standards as well as climate requirements cannot be undermined, this legislation is not fit for purpose."