Greg Hands shuts down SNP MP over ‘out of date’ figures
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SNP MP Drew Hendry was mocked in the House of Commons on Thursday as he did not quote the “latest” economic figures in his attack on the Government. He had claimed that Brexit had led to falling trade between the EU and UK, as he branded the Government “anti-trade”. This sparked a swift rebuttal from Britain’s Trade Minister Greg Hands, who joked that he would take the “anti-trade” remark with a “bucket of salt”.
Mr Hendry told the Commons: “He can defend his Government’s Brexit all he likes but the EU-UK trade fell by 27 percent in quarter one, with Scotland punished even further.
“And he cannot blame Covid as the fall is over three times worse than the global comparison.
“For every £245 that Brexit cost in lost trade, official statistics show that even if they were to agree to multiple free-trade agreements, it would bring in only about £18 in return.
“The UK is virtually alone in facing this kamikaze blow to its export.”
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The SNP trade spokesman continued: “Scotland voted against this trade catastrophe.
“So when will the UK government renegotiate this disaster, or will they continue to be anti-trade?”
Greg Hands hit back at the SNP MP to laughter from the rest of the Commons.
He said: “I take that with a bucket of salt from the SNP about being anti-trade.
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“The SNP has failed to support any trade deals, negotiated either by Brussels or us in Westminster.
“I don’t think there is a single party in this House that is more anti-trade than the SNP.
“I would also urge him to look again at the latest data.
“Trade with the EU is recovering. It may not yet be fully recovered but it is recovering.
“And the latest figures in May shows a very significant 8 percent improvement on the previous quarter. I refer him to last Friday’s data.”
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The data that Mr Hands cited, released last week, showed that UK exports to the EU continued to recover strongly in May and are now above pre-pandemic levels.
Non-EU exports also continue to grow solidly, by 6.4 percent on the month in May.
This comes as Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde declared that London will remain dominant as a world-leading financial centre post-Brexit and post-Covid.
Earlier this week, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted that talks to admit Britain into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) were “well-advanced”.
Made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, the bloc accounted for £110billion worth of UK trade in 2019.
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