Shipping containers © Steve Gibson
Shipping containers © Steve Gibson

Thank you to everyone who contacted me about the UK’s trade relationship with the European Union.

Constituents are absolutely right to highlight that the Tories’ botched Brexit deal has proved hugely damaging to Britain’s ability to trade with our largest trading partner. As a former shadow Secretary of State for International Trade I saw firsthand how the Conservatives’ false promises on the trading benefits of Brexit were going to prove disastrous for Britain’s import and export businesses.

As such, I completely agree that we need a closer trading relationship with the European Union. That’s why I’m wholeheartedly backing Labour’s plan to make Brexit work, which you can read by clicking here.

Our plan includes proposing a bespoke veterinary agreement between the UK and the EU to set minimum trading standards between us, which would remove many trade barriers and set in place crucial environmental and animal welfare protections. And we’d also negotiate Britain’s way back into many of the science and education programmes the Tories shamefully abandoned, which is causing so much damage to our educational institutions and young people.

But I also want to say something about our entire approach to relations with Europe. Just a few months ago, the public were told that Rishi Sunak signing the Windsor Framework would reset relations and end the years of damaging animosity from the Tories. But they just can’t help themselves and are now once again threatening to trash relations and undermine their own Brexit deal by passing a law that will give the government the power to ignore judgements made by the European Court of Human Rights. That’s a far cry from the constructive and honest approach Labour would take in government.

Contained with the Brexit deal is an agreement by both parties to review the deal every five years to assess whether and where it is working effectively. Should Labour win the next general election and be in government when the deal is reviewed in 2025, you can rest assured that our approach to that review will be guided by the principles and spirit of pragmatism I have set out above, including on rebuilding our important trading partnership.

Please rest assured that I will always stand up for an open, pragmatic, and trusting trading relationship with the European Union.

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