By Arj Singh
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. to give MPs a greater role in scrutinising post-Brexit free trade deals.
The Lords is also set to vote on a cross-party amendment to the agriculture bill to maintain UK food standards in trade deals, which is likely to spark a fresh MPs’ rebellion if it passes in the upper house.
Freeman warned that without either clear red lines or “basic parliamentary scrutiny” of trade deals, “we are in danger of giving the green light to exactly what the US department for trade – and ultra-free market Brexiteers – have long wanted: an abandonment of EU “red tape” and an open door for cheap imports”.
He said that approach would “mean the equivalent to UK farming of the closure of our shipbuilding and steel industry in the 1980s”.
In the wake of coronavirus, Freeman also warned that the UK has a “solemn duty” to secure its supply chains from public health risks from other countries like China, with its wet markets.
“Does “global Britain” mean maintaining our high standards and leadership on the environment, animal welfare, food standards, resilience and sustainability?” he wrote.
“Or does global Britain mean “cheap Britain” – cutting corners, lowering standards and abandoning our own farming industry by importing the cheapest food from around the world? From Wisconsin to Wuhan.”