Peers have passed an amendment to the Trade Bill to make new free trade deals contingent on minimum standards on food, the environment and animal welfare. They also voted to give Parliament a guaranteed say on new trade deals both before and after negotiations. This means the debate will continue next week in the House of Commons as part of the ‘ping pong’ process.
During the debate Baroness Rosie Boycott spoke of her concerns about the impact on public health of future trade deals. She also flagged that ministers had stated their support for public health but had not adequately explained who would be briefing parliament on the impact of future trade deals on human health, as the government committed to in the Agriculture Bill. She also queried why ministers had not explained the role of the Food Standards Agency in the matter and asked if they were sufficiently resourced to do the job if asked. You can read her speech (and the rest of the debate) in full here.
In response to these concerns Minister Lord Grimstone replied: it is “the intention of the Government is to recognise the importance of our independent food standards agencies and the advice they provide.” On the question raised by Baroness Boycott about the resourcing of the FSA, he said: "I have heard no suggestion that in any way it does not feel resourced to do this, but I will inquire about that and write to her.”
If you would like to see a breakdown of the vote, you can see that here.
3 Feb 2021
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