Shadow foreign secretary Lammy to call for closer EU ties at trade conference today

Tue 20 Jun 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Official portrait of David Lammy

[Credit: House of Commons Creative Commons License]

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will today (20 June) tell a conference of traders and policy experts that the Labour Party will seek a better relationship with the EU if it wins the next general election.

Politico’s London Playbook reports that he will use his keynote speech at the Trade Unlocked Conference at the NEC in Birmingham to say: “If you do not think Britain’s relationship with Europe is of fundamental importance to our future, you are living in a fantasy.”

Shadow international trade secretary Nicholas Thomas-Symonds, is also speaking at the event and will describe prime minister Rishi Sunak’s recent ‘Atlantic Declaration’ deal with the US as “paper thin”.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business and Trade told Politico that no government ministers will be attending the conference. Multiple representatives from the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) are in attendance, however.

Debate

Lammy’s pledge to deepen ties with the EU have been attacked by multiple Conservative MPs, including deputy party chairman Lee Anderson who has said “only the Conservative government can be trusted to protect Brexit”.

The Telegraph reports Anderson saying: “This is typical Labour – doubling down on their plans to make rejoining the EU their top priority at a pro-Brussels bash organised by arch-Remoaners.”

In response to such accusations, Lammy will reportedly say: “I have no qualms about repeating this. Reconnecting Britain must start by reconnecting with our European neighbours. Because the EU are our biggest trading partners and our allies as we face war on our continent.”

Lammy has previously told Politics Home: "We've been clear that we are not entering back into the single market, but clearly, there's much that we can do in partnership with the European Union."

Trade Unlocked

Trade Unlocked is being hosted by the Best for Britain civil society campaign and is described as being a “brand new national conference that brings together businesses of all sizes to discuss and address the challenges of the current trading environment.”

The IOE&IT Daily Update has previously reported that representatives from the UK Trade and Business Commission will be discussing its recently published trade policy platform at the event.

In the ‘Trading our way to prosperity: A blueprint for policymakers’ paper there are 114 recommendations to government, including the establishment of ‘an OBR for trade’ - an independent government agency to act for DBT as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) does for the Treasury.