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William Bain

The British Retail Consortium has appointed former Labour MP William Bain to help lead its Brexit strategy.

Bain, who was MP for Glasgow North East for five-and-a-half years, will assume the role of policy advisor and report into Andrew Opie, director of food policy at the BRC.

Bain will primarily work on the BRC’s Fair Brexit For Consumers campaign, which aims to help the government secure a fair deal for consumers in its negotiations with the EU. The BRC recently published research that advocated a “smart Brexit”, prioritising tariff-free arrangements with the EU before securing new trading relationships with the rest of the world.

Bain has plenty of experience on policy, having formerly served as shadow food and farming minister and acting a member of the then-named Business Innovation and Skills select committee, working on inquiries that focused on trade issues.

Since leaving Westminster, he has worked as a consultant to companies on the implications of Brexit.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The retail industry’s biggest priority is to work alongside the government to secure a fair Brexit for consumers. This means ensuring that ordinary shoppers aren’t hit with the cost of unwanted new tariffs and the UK is able to build new trading relationships with the rest of the world in the long-term. “William’s experience and skills will further strengthen the BRC’s voice on crucial trade and regulation issues during a pivotal period of time.

Bain added: “The retail industry is at the epicentre of the changes ahead arising from the UK’s transition to a new relationship with the European Union involving some of our biggest markets and industry supply chains. I’m thrilled to be part of the BRC’s pioneering work as the voice of the industry at such an important time for UK businesses and consumers.”