Lords' dismay at government's silence on trade report

 
Helen Cahill
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The government blamed the General election for the delay (Source: Getty)

Members of the House of Lords still have not received a government response to a key report on post-Brexit trade that was first published in March.

The report from the House of Lords' EU Select Committee concluded that securing a transitional agreement with the EU was "crucial" for UK businesses and looked at the possible impact of Brexit on the trade of major commodities.

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Since the publication of the report, splits in the cabinet have emerged over the nature of any possible transitional arrangement. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit secretary David Davis are at odds over how close the UK should stay to the EU during the transition.

The Lords debated the trade report in mid-July, but still have not received a written response to their findings.

Baroness Hilary Armstrong said the silence from government "adds to the feeling that they are overwhelmed by the task that faces us".

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Lord Quentin Davies said: "Serious things are in the report and the government have no answer to them.

"Of course, that can only further depress potential investors in this country, because not only do they see the problems, the issues and the anxieties that are expressed but on the government's side there is complete and utter silence - either silence, or, frankly, comments that can hardly be expected of intelligent and responsible people."

A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union said a response had been delayed due to the purdah arrangements that prevent departments making new announcements ahead of a General Election.

A reply will be published in due course, the spokesperson said.

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