Government succeeds in advancing Trade Bill which ‘erodes the power of Parliament to nothing’

21 May 2020 - 12:00pm
Press release

Press Comment

21 May 2020

The government has succeeded in advancing the Trade Bill through Parliament - despite broad opposition through reasoned amendments from Caroline Lucas MP, Keir Starmer MP and Sarah Olney MP. Emily Thornberry MP called the bill “a massive missed opportunity for our country” which “erodes the power of Parliament to nothing”. Responding to the news, Leah Sullivan, Trade Campaigner at War on Want, says:

‘The Trade Bill is back, and once again it's a huge threat to our democracy and to our rights. As the government ploughs ahead with trade negotiations with the US, it is seeking to shut down any prospect of democratic oversight and scrutiny of the serious risks trade deals pose to our economies, to the NHS and to our food standards.

As it stands, the Trade Bill fails to guarantee any measure of trade democracy. Parliament will not have any formal role in trade negotiations – it will not have to debate, vote on or approve them. The Trade Bill does not provide any way for MPs to meaningfully hold our government to account. This leaves us with little protection against the enormous risks posed by dodgy trade deals written in the interests of multinational corporations instead of ordinary people.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have made demands for trade democracy over the past three years. The government is completely ignoring them by keeping parliament and the public in the dark about the dangerous deals they are negotiating.  Last year, War on Want and other trade campaigners fought hard for democracy and transparency amendments to the Trade Bill. None of these amendments are included in this current iteration, which does nothing to guarantee that the NHS will not be on the table.

Parliament needs a say in trade deals. We will continue to push for the Trade Bill to incorporate accountability and transparency fit for a democratic society.”

Leah Sullivan is available for media interviews and further comment on request.


Press Contacts

Holly Blaxill, Head of Communications and Engagement:


Notes to Editors

War on Want, Global Justice Now and other organisations are campaigning for trade democracy in the Trade Bill.


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