A ROW has broken out on the second anniversary of the end of the Brexit transition period, with Labour attacking a host of “bad” trade deals since agreed by the UK – while the SNP say the Brexit-supporting party is a “co-signatory” to them.

It comes after Keir Starmer’s party accused the Tories of breaking a manifesto commitment to have “80% of UK trade covered by free trade agreements … starting with the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan” by the end of 2022.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, said that the Tories’ record had proven to be either “delivering no deals or bad deals”.

He pointed specifically to three failures on the Conservative government’s part: the USA, Australia, and India.

READ MORE: Dominic Cummings: UK Government never planned to stick to its own Brexit deal

The US trade deal, which has not materialised, has been fraught with issues due to the UK Government’s dismissive attitude to the Northern Ireland Protocol – which it both negotiated and agreed.

In September, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made clear that any efforts on the Tories’ part to undo the protocol would “not create a conducive environment” for a UK-US deal – which experts have described as “not a priority” for the Americans in any case.

The Australian trade deal was pushed through and hailed as a win by the Conservatives at the time, before George Eustice – who helped negotiate it while environment secretary – publicly admitted that it is “not actually a very good deal for the UK”.

READ MORE: Australia trade deal set to 'hammer' Scottish farmers and net-zero goals

And the Tories had pledged to have a deal with India signed by Diwali 2022 (late October) but saw their efforts undermined by their own Home Secretary.

Suella Braverman – who was fired by Liz Truss before being reappointed by Rishi Sunak days later – left the India trade deal on the “verge of collapse” after what New Delhi government sources described as “disrespectful” remarks about migrants from their country.

Labour’s Thomas-Symonds (below) said: “2022 will represent a year of broken promises and failure on trade from the Conservatives … At the same time, we have seen economic chaos, tarnishing the UK’s international reputation.

The National: Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen

“The Conservative record on trade has either been delivering no deals or bad deals. The country cannot go on like this and Labour has a plan to rebuild our international reputation, improve support for exporters, and power export-led growth in every part of the UK, as part of our Green Prosperity Plan.”

However, the SNP said that Labour were effectively “co-signatories” to the very chaos they were criticising due to their hard-line support of Brexit.

READ MORE: Tories pick fight with EU to blame it for Brexit problems, says former Irish PM

SNP MP Richard Thomson accused Labour of having a “brass neck” for speaking against the UK’s international trade arrangements given that “they are now a fully-fledged pro-Brexit party”.

He went on: "Pro-Brexit Labour can bemoan trade deals signed by the Tories all they like, but they are essentially co-signatories of them.

"No trade deal can replace the deal Scotland already had with the European Union, a market seven times the size of the UK.

"That is why no Westminster party offers Scotland a better future and the only way Scotland can flourish is by becoming an independent country in the European Union."

The National: International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch leaving 10 Downing Street, London, following a Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday November 22, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

In the Commons in mid-December, International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch (above) insisted that the Tories were focusing on “the substance of trade deals, not the timing”. 

A UK Government spokesperson said exports were “bouncing back” after the pandemic and had hit stronger levels than 2019. 

They went on: “We have already signed trade deals with 71 countries plus the EU that account for £814bn of bilateral trade, and we are now seeking new deals with India, the Gulf, Canada, Mexico, Israel and the £9 trillion combined GDP free trade bloc in the Indo-Pacific, which will spur growth, create jobs and boost wages for UK workers. 

“We will only sign new agreements that are fair, reciprocal and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and economy.”