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Truss’s admission talks on trade deal with US have been shelved is ‘terrible news for UK


Truss’s admission talks on trade deal with US have been shelved is ‘terrible news for UK economy’, Labour says

Good morning. As my colleague Pippa Crerar reports, it turns out Barack Obama was right after all. When it comes to a free trade deal with the US, post-Brexit Britain really is at the back of the queue.

Liz Truss admitted that she did not expect talks on a free trade deal with the US to start “in the short to medium term” while speaking to reporters last night on her plane over to New York, where she is attending the United Nations general assembly. No one who has followed progress towards the “massive” free trade deal once promised will be surprised by the substance of what Truss said; it has been clear since Joe Biden won the US presidential election that for the time being the deal is all but dead. But the fact that Truss was prepared to admit this quite openly is notable. Last year, on a similar trip to the US, Boris Johnson was more evasive.

In answering the question candidly, Truss was also burying a commitment in the Conservative party’s 2019 manifesto, which said:

Our goals for British trade are accordingly ambitious. We aim to have 80 per cent of UK trade covered by free trade agreements within the next three years, starting with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The Truss comment also marks the return of No 10 as a news-generation machine. After the death of the Queen, all government business was put on hold and even the sources who give journalists unattributable briefings more or less clammed up. But now political news is back. We will be hearing more from Truss later today, and this morning Michelle Donelan, the new culture secretary, has done a full interview round. I will summarise the key points shortly.

Labour opposed Brexit in 2016, but under Keir Starmer it is now presenting itself as the party that would “make Brexit work”, and it now routinely attacks the Tories for failing to implement Brexit properly. Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow international trade secretary, says Truss’s admission that the US free trade deal won’t happen is “terrible news” for the economy. He says:

The admission that there is no prospect of a trade deal with the USA is terrible news for the UK economy – it is costing billions in lost potential trade opportunities and holding back growth.

There is no doubt that the blame for this mess lies at the door of the prime minister, who tarnished the UK’s international reputation as foreign and international trade secretary. This is an embarrassment for Liz Truss.

The Conservative manifesto promised a trade deal with the United States by the end of this year, now this has no chance of being delivered.

Only the fresh start a Labour government can provide will rebuild these international relationships and run a trade policy focused on growth.

Parliament is not sitting today. Here is the agenda.

Lunchtime (UK time): Liz Truss is expected to record interviews in New York, where she is in a visit to attend the United Nations general assembly.

Around 4pm (UK time): Truss is due to hold a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, the French president.

Also, at some point today Brandon Lewis, the new justice secretary, is due to hold a meeting with the Criminal Bar Association to discuss the barristers’ strike.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

Rosie Cooper has indicated that she intends to stand down as Labour MP for West Lancashire to take up a new job as chair of the Mersey Care NHS foundation trust. In her statement announcing the move Cooper says that events in recent years have “undoubtedly taken their toll” – a reference to Cooper being targeted by a neo-Nazi who was jailed for life in 2019 for plotting to kill her.

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Cooper’s statement implies she will resign and trigger a byelection. At the last election she had a majority of more than 8,000 over the Conservatives, and in a byelection Labour would be expected to hold the seat very easily.

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Rosie Cooper indicates she will stand down as MP to take new job as chair of NHS trust”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 20 Sep 2022 11.55 BST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Tue 20 Sep 2022 09.44 BST”},{“id”:”63298d908f081462270606bc”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Liz Truss is due to meet Emmanuel Macron, the French president, at the UN this afternoon. It will be their first proper meeting since she scandalised mainstream diplomatic opinion during the Tory leadership contest by refusing to say whether she considered him a friend or foe. The response from Macron was seen as considerably more statesmanlike.

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Michelle Donelan, the culture secretary, was asked about Truss’s comment this morning. She could have said said that Truss was just making a joke (which was probably at least half true – look at the expression on Truss’s face in the video clip), but it is never wise to contradict the boss and instead Donelan defended what Truss said. Asked if Truss should apologise to Macron, Donelan told Times Radio:

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n

Well, absolutely not. The prime minister is entitled to make comments on any topic she should see fit to do so. So I don’t think she needs to apologise.

n

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But on LBC Donelan did sound more conciliatory. She said it would be a mistake to “overegg” the comment made by Truss, and she claimed the PM has had “many warm conversations” with Macron over the past week….



Read More: Truss’s admission talks on trade deal with US have been shelved is ‘terrible news for UK

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