Comments made by Bill Esterson, the Shadow Minister for International Trade, on 23 July 2020.
The Government’s approach to its trade negotiations is extremely worrying. The only reason to impose these long-term gagging orders is to prevent the public discovering the reality of what the government is willing to give up to get these free trade deals.
On a practical level, these NDAs will make it impossible for business and union representatives to consult their members on the implications of specific proposals, and make it more likely that damaging provisions will slip into these trade agreements unchecked.
Instead of operating in this way, the government should increase the transparency of these trade negotiations, and allow effective scrutiny of what is being proposed, by business, by unions, by civil society and by Parliament. If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.