Thank you for contacting me about New Clause 4 and the Trade Bill.
At its core, the Trade Bill is a continuity Bill. It cannot be used to implement new free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries. Instead it can only be used to implement the free trade agreements that the UK has been party to through EU membership. All these agreements have already been subject to scrutiny as underlying EU agreements, through the European Scrutiny Committee (of which I was a member) or equivalent.
Regarding future trade agreements, public consultations have and will continue to be held prior to negotiations to inform the Government's approach. Ministers have also published their negotiating objectives prior to the start of trade talks and held open briefings for MPs and Peers.
Regular updates are also provided to Parliament on the progress of negotiations. I know that Ministerial colleagues at the Department for International Trade will also be engaging closely with the International Trade Committee and the Lords International Agreements Committee as negotiations progress. The Government has also made repeatedly clear that where necessary it will bring forward primary legislation to implement new FTAs, which will be debated and scrutinised by Parliament in the usual way.
Overall, I believe this approach strikes an appropriate balance. It respects the UK constitution, ensuring that the Government can negotiate in the best interests of the UK, while making sure that Parliament has the information it needs to effectively scrutinise and lend its expertise to trade policy.