THE UK Government has denied reports that it has caved into European demands to abolish daylight saving time.

Earlier this year the European Commission set out proposals that would end the annual ritual of changing the clocks in the spring and autumn with member states asked to decide by April whether to keep summer time from October 2019.

In public the UK Government had strongly campaigned against the change, but emails released under freedom of information requests showed that officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy over the issue expected them to agree.

According to the Daily Mail, one DFE official in Belfast wrote to a colleague: “My impression ... is that officials’ advice is likely to be in favour of adopting British Summer Time all year.”

Regardless of Brexit, if Europe decides to end the clock changes it will impact on the UK. There is concern that it could leave Northern Ireland stuck between London time and Dublin time.

Asked about the comment, a UK Government spokesman said: “Ministers are actively working to convince other member states to block this proposal.”

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Meanwhile, the Commons International Trade Committee has called for a “meaningful parliamentary vote” on post-Brexit trade deals.

In their new report, the cross-party group of MPs, chaired by the SNP’s Angus MacNeil, said the UK’s trade policy needed to be “inclusive, transparent, and democratic” with a role for Parliament, business, civil society, the devolved administrations and local government.

The committee’s report is based on a lengthy inquiry into past trade negotiations around the globe.

The MPs urged the Government to back a “presumption of transparency in relation to negotiating documents”, and for “greater representation of business, civil society, devolved administration, and local government interests in the formulation of trade policy”.

Launching the report, MacNeil said the Government had been “characteristically vague” on trade.

“The UK is set to begin negotiating its own trade agreements for the first time in 40 years,” he said.

“These agreements have the potential to affect every part of every UK citizen’s life – from the quality of the food we eat to the money in our pocket.

“We have seen what happens when the public and Parliament are deliberately kept in the dark over trade negotiations. With so much to gain or lose, everyone has the right be heard.

“Current Government plans for the transparency and scrutiny of future trade negotiations are characteristically vague and attempt to dress poor planning up as pragmatism.”