North East MP challenges secretary of state in parliamentary debate

A North East MP has warned that businesses exporting outside the EU are unsure how leaving the single market will enhance their ability to trade.

During a debate on trade policy held in the House of Commons, on July 24, 2018, Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North, challenged the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, on what benefits there would be for these businesses after leaving the single market.

As part of her question, Ms McKinnell quoted a business within her constituency as saying “we already work with and export to places like the US, Australia and South Africa, and I fail to see how leaving the single market and customs union would enhance our ability to do any more of this.”

Ms McKinnell went on to ask the secretary of state to “clarify how that business can contribute to the consultation to ensure that it can actually make something of this new free trade world?”

The secretary of state responded, saying “the whole point of free trade agreements is to gain market access where we do not have it today for the benefit of our businesses that want to export. I hope that businesses will outline their level of ambition as each trade agreement is set out so that government understand just what they think they think they could do if markets were more open”

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