KEMI Badenoch has urged the media to “not keep talking” about Brexit amid a row over a new trade deal that won’t compensate for losing access to the EU single market.

During a media round on Friday morning, the Trade Secretary announced that the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has been confirmed.

However, Badenoch was forced to go on the defensive as the Government's own experts estimated the deal would only boost the economy by 0.08%.

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The deal is the biggest the UK has signed since leaving the EU, but critics have pointed out this does not compensate for the estimated 4% drop in GDP Brexit caused.

Asked about this on Times Radio, Badenoch was critical of the links to Brexit.

“First of all, what the OBR [which produced the 4% figure] is doing is forecasting, which is why a lot of the modelling is so speculative,” she said.

“The second thing is that we are still in a free trade agreement with the EU. This is in addition to our free trade agreement.

“I think it would be quite ridiculous to suggest that we shouldn’t carry out any free trade deals now that we’ve left the EU.

“We’ve left the EU so we need to look at what to do in order to grow that UK economy and not keep talking about a vote from seven years ago.”

The deal will cut tariffs for UK exporters to a group of nations which – with Britain’s membership – will have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of £11 trillion, accounting for 15% of global GDP, according to UK officials.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it “will help us unlock the benefits of Brexit for people across the UK”.

However, critics say the impact will be limited, with official estimates suggesting it will add just £1.8 billion a year to the economy after 10 years, representing less than 1% of UK GDP.

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Badenoch also rejected suggestions that the deal would be environmentally damaging, as it includes Malaysia, a country where palm oil production is driving deforestation.

“Moving the tariff from 2% to 0% is not what’s going to cause deforestation,” Badenoch said.

“And actually, the standards which are set by this government, by the Department for the Environment, is what’s going to dictate what comes into the country.

“But also, being in the trade bloc means that we’re going to have more influence on sustainability.

The National: Badenoch told a reporter to 'not keep talking' about BrexitBadenoch told a reporter to 'not keep talking' about Brexit (Image: PA)

“Palm oil is actually a great product. It’s in so many of the things we use. This is not some illegal substance we’re talking about.”

Badenoch also told the programme she was “unbelievably excited” about the outcome of the negotiations around the trade deal, claiming it would “open up our economy”.

She said: “The CPTPP regional countries’ total GDP is about £9tr, about 500 million people.

“It’s where the new middle class will be coming from in the future and now we’re going to have a closer trading relationship with them.”

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The UK is the first new member, and first European nation, to join the bloc – comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – since its formation in 2018.

It follows nearly two years of negotiations, culminating in intensive talks in Vietnam earlier this month, when representatives of the 11 existing members agreed to the UK joining.

While Britain already has trade agreements with the CPTPP members apart from Malaysia and Brunei, officials said it would deepen existing arrangements, with 99% of UK goods exported to the bloc now eligible for zero tariffs.