Remain campaigner slams UK’s new trade deals ‘with despots’
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Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, a civil society campaign launched to stop Brexit, appeared on last night's BBC Newsnight to condemn post-Brexit trade deals and urge for a more ethical policy. The UK has signed a handful of deals, including trade deals and agreements in principle with 69 countries and one with the EU.
Since Brexit turned a page on January 31, 2020, the UK and EU needed to decide the rules for their future trading relationship.
This was important as the EU is the UK’s largest and closest trading partner.
The agreement with Australia was signed in December 2021 before an agreement was formed with New Zealand in February 2022.
The latest deal was signed this year in February when Britain signed a digital trade agreement with Singapore.
Naomi Smith is CEO of Best for Britain (Image: BBC)
Naomi Smith appeared on last night's BBC Newsnight to condemn post-Brexit trade deals (Image: BBC)
However, Ms Smith told host Kirsty Wark: "I don’t think anybody hoped that Global Britain translated as deals with despots and trade with tyrants."
Then BBC's Ms Wark commented on the fact that if Britain remained in the EU and the bloc decided to do a deal with India "we'd be there whether we wanted to or not".
To which Ms Smith replied: "If we were part of the single market, part of that big bloc, we would have a negotiating power to hold some of these countries to account and the deals that we sign that we don’t have as a much smaller independent country."
Speaking on his Spring Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated it was "inevitable" that UK trade with the EU would fall as a result of Brexit.
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Kirsty Wark presented Newsnight (Image: BBC)
Mr Sunak said it was too soon to disentangle the effects of the Covid pandemic and of Brexit (Image: Getty)
Mr Sunak said it was too soon to disentangle the effects of the Covid pandemic and of Brexit, however, he acknowledged leaving the EU had had an impact.
He stated: "We are still trying to work through what all the impacts are.
"It was always inevitable that there would be a change in our trade intensity with Europe as a result of the change in the trade relationship.
"Without doubt we are changing our trading relationship with the EU and that means a different set of controls and things people will have to do and that will obviously have an impact.
"That is, I am sure, a big part of the reason why this is happening.
"I think it is maybe a bit early to be definitive about which bits are doing what."
Mr Sunak, however, rejected the suggestion that the UK was becoming "a more closed economy", and insisted the Government wanted it to be much more open to the world on trade.
The Chancellor continued: "The benefit of new trading relationships takes time.
"They don't happen all over night. Of course, that will happen over a period of time."
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