The government’s “Global Britain” agenda to drum up post-Brexit international trade is undermined by its conduct over the EU divorce deal and cuts to the international aid budget, Theresa May warned on Monday.
The former prime minister said the UK government would be judged by how it behaved on the world stage, and that the country needed to “live our values ourselves”.
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Speaking in a Commons debate on trade Mrs May said: “We need to move away from the world of strong men facing up to each other. We need to find more ways of working with people who share our values…
“I have to say to the government that threatening to break an international treaty shortly after signing it, that threatening to break international law and cutting our international aid does not enhance our impact of Global Britain, in fact it makes it harder for us as Global Britain to get our message around the world.”
‘Clear and present danger’
Mrs May also warned that the threat of the break-up of the UK was a “clear and present danger to Global Britain”, adding: “The United Kingdom has a seat on the security council of the United Nations, I doubt that England would have a seat on the security council of the United Nations.”
Referring to images of empty supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland in recent days, blamed on disruption caused by Brexit arrangements with Great Britain, the ex-PM said “the government needs to deal with this issue”.
Opening the debate, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said poorer countries will be offered “more generous” terms to trade with the UK post-Brexit under a new “emerging markets” scheme.
She told MPs: “Trade is the key not just to prosperity but also peace and co-operation between nations, and I want to reassure the House that we’re going to ensure that no country is left behind without the benefits of free and fair trade with the United Kingdom.
“Later this year we’ll be launching an emerging markets trade scheme which will offer the lowest-income countries a better deal when they’re trading with the UK. It’ll be more generous than the EU scheme, and it’ll help those countries on to the ladder towards prosperity through the enterprise and ingenuity of their people.”