Black Country MPs welcome post-Brexit trade deal but stress 'devil is in detail'

MPs in the Black Country and Staffordshire have praised the announcement of a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union – but have stressed the "devil is in the detail".

Boris Johnson gives a media briefing after the deal was announced
Boris Johnson gives a media briefing after the deal was announced

Politicians in the area welcomed the news Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured the trade deal after lengthy negotiations were carried out with the EU.

But MPs have stressed they are waiting to scrutinise the deal itself – to ensure it is what people who voted for Brexit were promised in the 2016 referendum.

Marco Longhi, the Conservative MP for Dudley North, said: "I'm a staunch Brexiteer and gave my backing to the Prime Minister all the way through because he understands what people in the Black Country wanted.

"It seems like, from the headlines, that the deal does actually satisfy what most Brexiteers wanted, but as we've learned before the devil is in the detail.

"As a member of the European Research Group myself, I'm looking forward to going through some of this detail to make sure we're Sovereign-compliant because that's a key issue for so many who voted for Brexit.

"I'm really supportive of what the Prime Minister has done and continue to be – we need to just see the detail of it now."

Michael Fabricant, Tory MP for Lichfield, said: "There are 2,000 pages to be read and I've not been given one yet but from all accounts, this seems to be an excellent deal for the United Kingdom and delivers everything Boris Johnson promised 12 months ago at the time of the general election.

"Interestingly, this deal on fish will be of benefit not only to the English but to Scottish fishermen too and is far better for Scotland than if we had remained in the EU.

"It will be interesting to see how Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP react to that as they claim an independent Scotland would immediately join the EU.

"Back in 1991 I was asked by the selection committee for the Conservatives, 'so, is there anything that you don't agree with on Conservative policy?'

"And my answer was, 'yes, I think we should leave the EU. I think it would be like a ball and chain being removed from the leg of the British economy'.

"I believed that then and I believe that now."

Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, said: "Given the country’s Brexit decision it is better to leave the EU with a trade Agreement in place than without one.

"Of course, as with any big complex agreement, it makes sense to look at the detail but from what we can see this agreement falls far short of what the country was promised in 2016 in terms of securing the exact same benefits we have now.

"It will mean more trading friction for key employers in the West Midlands in manufacturing and services for example in terms of customs paperwork or recognition of qualifications.

"However leaving without any deal in place would have been worse and would have meant damaging tariffs eg on car manufacturing and agricultural produce.

"Politics can now turn to the issue of what kind of country we will be in the future – including the critical question of whether we can keep the UK together."

Stuart Anderson, the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West who was elected last year alongside Mr Longhi, said: "I'm delighted, but obviously we need to look through the detail of it.

"The Prime Minister has done exactly what he said he would do in the most difficult of circumstances as well and it looks like a good trade deal.

"It's one of the key things I was elected on and I think it's amazing news."

John Spellar, Labour MP for Warley, said: "It's very welcome news – particularly for the Midlands manufacturing sector who were very concerned about the prospects of tariffs.

"This will enable them to plan ahead and it's a very welcome Christmas present to those in the manufacturing industry."

Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West who was also voted in as part of the Conservative landslide last year, said the deal would mean a boost for the Black Country – but said he would be scrutinising the detail.

He said "It's obviously great news. The Prime Minister has pulled this off as he said he would and I've had every faith in him. Obviously, I will be scrutinising the detail to see it holds true to what my constituents voted for.

"For all the naysayers out there, he has done it and it'll be interesting to see the Labour Party's stance on this because they've betrayed the people in the Black Country – it'll be interesting to see if they get behind it. It's great news and this has all been about believing we could pull this off.

"Let's see what the details are and honour the referendum and general election result. I think it all sounds really positive and the Prime Minister has done what he always does and proved the naysayers wrong."

Suzanne Webb, MP for Stourbridge, said: "The Prime Minister has delivered Brexit in its entirety today and this is what Stourbridge voted for in the 2016 referendum and in last year’s General Election.

"It draws a line under the negotiations and it now means we can continue our close relationship and move forward as friends and allies with the EU in a wide variety of areas such as security and climate change.

"The text of the deal is 2000 pages long and so it will need to be looked at closely by MPs. That is something I will now be doing over Christmas.

"However, I believe this is a deal that all parties are pleased with, we can all work with and one that will lead to new prosperity.

"Importantly, it now allows the UK to come together and move forward finally free of the arguments and division Brexit has caused."

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