Badenoch hails mega Brexit deal as she takes swipes at EU and 'sucking on lemons' Labour – Express

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Kemi Badenoch today hailed Britain’s bumper post-Brexit Indo-Pacific trade deal as she took swipes at Labour and the EU. The Business and Trade Secretary said the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an “outstanding deal for our country”.

Ms Badenoch, an avowed Brexiteer, also took aim at Brussels as she highlighted how Britain will not be forced to give up its sovereignty.

And she accused Labour of being bitter about the Conservative Government striking the “fantastic” deal.

Making a Commons statement on the CPTPP negotiations, the Business and Trade Secretary told MPs: “I’m delighted to announce that since we first launched consultations in 2018 and after nearly two years of talks, the UK has substantially concluded negotiations to accede to CPTPP.

“We will become the first country to join since the original partnership was founded. I’m pleased to tell the House that we are delivering on our post-Brexit agenda for a modern, free-trading global Britain and this agreement represents the future of global trade.

“Our negotiators have spent 21 months working painstakingly and often through the night to get the best deal for the UK and that is what they have done.

“This is an outstanding deal for our country, giving access to a fast-growing economic block that will allow us to sell our goods and services without giving up control of our laws.”

Shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the detail on the deal is “paper thin” and cited official estimates that it will only add 0.08 percent to the size of the UK’s economy.

He added that it “does not make up for the failure” to deliver deals with the US or India.

But Ms Badenoch accused Labour MPs of looking like they have been “sucking on lemons” as she hit back.

She said: “It must be really, really difficult to sit there while we have just agreed this fantastic trade deal and find a way to celebrate. Just looking at the Labour frontbench it looks like they’ve been sucking on lemons.”

Ms Badenoch’s comments come after Britain was last month accepted as a member of the Indo-Pacific trade bloc.

Joining the free trade bloc represents a continuation of the post-Brexit policy “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region.

The agreement will cut tariffs for UK exporters to a group of nations which – with Britain’s membership – will have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of £11 trillion, accounting for 15% of global GDP, according to UK officials.

Britain is the first new member, and first European nation, to join the bloc – comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – since its formation in 2018.

It follows nearly two years of negotiations, culminating in intensive talks in Vietnam earlier this month, when representatives of all 11 existing members agreed to the UK joining.

However critics have insisted the impact will be limited, with official estimates suggesting it will add just £1.8 billion a year to the economy after 10 years, representing less than 1 percent of UK GDP.