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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Conservative Party Candidate for York Outer
Any reference to Julian Sturdy being a Member of Parliament on this website predates the dissolution of Parliament and the 2024 General Election campaign

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Julian supports call for more scrutiny of new trade deals

October 12, 2022

Julian was pleased to be able to support his Conservative colleague Anthony Mangnall MP in his Westminster Hall debate on the subject of scrutiny of future UK trade deals.

Since leaving the European Union, the UK Government has secured over 70 trade agreements and have most recently signed tailored deals with New Zealand and Australia. While supportive of the Government endeavours to make global trade easier and more lucrative, Julian has always believed that Members of Parliament should have the opportunity to scrutinise these deals before they are signed. This would be similar to how trade deals are scrutinised by Congress in the United States.

In 2020, Julian voted against the Government whip when he supported an amendment to the Trade Bill proposed by Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly which would have required both Houses of Parliament to approve the draft negotiating objectives before talks on a trade deal can commence, and the text of a trade agreement before the government can sign it.

In the same year, Julian voted against the Government whip again by supporting an amendment to the Agriculture Bill relating to animal welfare, environmental and plant health standards of any food imports licenced under new trade deals.

Intervening in Wednesday’s Westminster Hall debate, Julian proposed to Anthony Mangnall MP whether he agreed that due to our former membership of the European Union meaning we have not signed trade deals in some time that it warranted taking extra time for parliamentary scrutiny of any provisional agreements. Furthermore, Julian asked whether we should draw on the expertise of industry and businesses operating within the UK when scrutinising proposals.

Anthony Mangnall MP replied agreeing:

“Yes, I do. The International Trade Committee has sizeable limitations, and a number of trade deals are being signed. If we are able to discuss such matters with more people, open this up, and allow people to debate and scrutinise, we will be able to improve the actual process. If hon. Members were to ask anyone in the Department for International Trade whether they had learned lessons between the signing of the Australia trade agreement and the signing of the New Zealand trade agreement, they would clearly see that lessons have been learned: the situation has improved, and we are getting better and better. From the officials that have come before the International Trade Committee, it is clear that the Department is doing a fantastic job in tackling international trade agreements. It is learning each day how to do it, in a way that we have not had to for the last 40 years. It is right that we use the expertise in both Parliament and trade bodies across the country.”

In the conclusion of the debate Anthony Mangnall MP promised to take up the matter formally once he had considered the Minister for Trade’s response and work in a cross-party matter to push forward the issue of parliamentary scrutiny which has support from across the House. Julian has promised to work with him in any way he can and will use any parliamentary mechanism available – future Westminster Hall debate, departmental questions, bill amendments etc – to ensure scrutiny is enhanced.