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No deal should trade away human rights

We need to return to an ethical foreign policy, making decisions based on what is good for the world, not just in the UK’s narrow interest

Boris Johnson greeting the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, back in January 2020. The government’s recent trade agreement with Egypt has paid little heed to its human rights abuses. Photo: Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

Three things were entirely predictable when the government resumed control over the UK’s trade policy after almost 50 years of decisions being made at the European level.

The first was the clash between the government’s conviction that we would have brand new trade deals across the world ready to take effect as soon as we left the EU, and the hard reality that trade negotiations are never so quick or simple.

The second, related, was that the government would hugely underestimate the loss of exports of goods and services to Europe caused by introducing friction into that…

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