Flying the free trade flag post Brexit

The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001
The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001

Scrutiny of the Brexit process takes place in public but not always in front of a large audience, in fact a fair amount is undertaken in committee rooms in the Palace of Westminster.

These evidence sessions are broadcast live, but obviously do not attract as much media coverage as the boisterous excerpts of Prime Minister’s Questions each week. While PMQs is an important part of our democracy, where the head of government faces questions from the House of Commons, it is not particularly reflective of the calmer atmosphere of other parliamentary proceedings.

Given the salience of aviation to our local economy I continue to raise the necessity for the government to act on the representations received by Gatwick management and airlines. At the cross-party Transport Select Committee last week the chief executive of the International Airlines Group – the parent company of British Airways – dismissed the scaremongering we’ve seen regarding air travel after our EU departure.

Brexit, of course, came from a desire to have a more global outlook, as opposed to membership of an organisation which continues to look inward. As the Exiting the EU Secretary, David Davis, told the House of Lords EU Committee a few days ago, after we leave the EU, Britain will be the leading exponent of free trade in the world.

The Brexit Secretary and the European Commission’s chief negotiator will be meeting later this week for further talks. Parliamentary accountability for Brexit includes ministers coming to the House of Commons to provide updates to MPs, and answering questions on a regular basis. I recently asked the International Trade Secretary about the preparations being made.

In addition to PMQs each week, when the Prime Minister takes part in a meeting of the European Council, she follows up by coming to the House of Commons to answer points raised by MPs.

I continue to hold the Government to account while supporting the best possible deal for the UK. It is the responsibility of all sides in the Commons to do the same.