A FORMER UK environment secretary said the Government's Australia trade deal “is not actually a very good deal for the UK”.

George Eustice, who was dismissed when Liz Truss became prime minister, warned that “unless we recognise the failures that the Department for International Trade made during the Australia negotiations, we won’t be able to learn the lessons for future negotiations”.

The first step, he said, is “to recognise that the Australia trade deal is not actually a very good deal for the UK”, adding: “It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part."

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Eustice went on to blame Truss for her a part in the deal, despite "holding all of the best cards".

He said the former prime minister and then trade secretary took the decision to set an "arbitrary target" to conclude heads of terms by the time of the G7 summit and "from that moment the UK was on the back foot repeatedly".

He continued: “In fact, at one point that then trade secretary asked her opposite number from Australia what he would need in order to be able to conclude an agreement by G7, and of course, the Australian negotiator very kindly set out the Australian terms, which then shaped eventually the deal.”

SNP international trade spokesperson Drew Hendry said: “These are awful deals, they’re unmitigated disasters and that is why they are refusing to allow Parliament to vote on them.

“These are the legacy of the previous prime minister and make as much sense as the infamous mini-Budget.”

The MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey added: “These deals are bad policy at the worst possible time. The laissez-faire, couldn’t care, get it over the line Brexiteer ideology that has deprioritised domestic food production in support of importing cheaper for now, lower standard food is dangerous and should be put on hold immediately.

“It sets a thumpingly bad precedent. The rest of the world is watching and they want the same one-sided access that has been squandered here.”