Truss warned EU will ‘retaliate’ against hated Brexit deal
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Brexit is a “threat” to human rights, according to prominent Remainer Femi Oluwole. He took to Twitter to claim his constant battling against Brexit was about supporting human rights.
Mr Oluwole said: “For the record: When I started opposing Brexit, I was working for European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, advocating human rights and democracy.
“So my not liking Brexit isn’t the reason I fight for human rights (e.g fair voting).
“I fought Brexit because I support human rights, and saw Brexit as a threat.”
In August, Politico reported that UK ministers are quietly stepping away from an EU principle of including human rights clauses in trade deals.
Rosa Crawford, trade policy lead at the Trades Union Congress, told Politico: “Loose ethics and a willingness to overlook egregious human rights and labor rights abuses to secure trade deals have been a steadfast feature of the government’s approach to trade.”
In a letter to MPs seen by the Independent, Ms Truss’ successor as trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, confirmed that human rights issues would be led by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and kept out of trade talks.
FTAs, she insisted, “are not generally the most effective or targeted tool to advance human rights issues.”
In June, Brexit Britain announced free trade negotiations between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Ms Trevelyan started talks on June 22, with the GCC bloc’s demand for international products and services expected to grow rapidly to £800 billion by 2035, a 35 percent increase.
The trade secretary said: “Today marks the next significant milestone in our five-star year of trade as we step up the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf.
“Our current trading relationship was worth £33.1 billion in the last year alone. From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services, I’m excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than ten thousand SMEs already exporting to the region.
“This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf.”
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A Department for International Trade (DIT) source argued it was wrong to say human rights and rule of law had been dropped, as their inclusion as options in the consultation did not necessarily mean they would become objectives.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, said: “Yet again, we have a Government acting as though human rights and the rule of law are optional extras, to be discarded at will, rather than principles and values that are fundamental to what we stand for as a country.
“It is wrong, it is immoral, and it is doing untold damage to our reputation around the world.”
It comes as Ms Truss’s Government will relax immigration rules to ease labour shortages and boost business growth.
Downing Street did not deny the Prime Minister was planning to liberalise routes to allow foreign workers to move to the UK, as first reported in The Sun.
A No 10 source told the outlet: “We need to put measures in place so that we have the right skills that the economy, including the rural economy, needs to stimulate growth.
“That will involve increasing numbers in some areas and decreasing them in others. As the prime minister has made clear, we also want to see people who are economically inactive get back into work.”
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