Miliband’s pledge on TTIP: ‘Labour will protect the NHS’


This is critically important for the general election next year, because timing is everything.

If any of you were in any doubt about Labour’s position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the USA and the EU, this Tweet from Andy Burnham should clarify:

“Crucial commitment from @Ed_Miliband today: ‘The next Labour government will work to make sure the NHS is protected from EU competition law’.”

This is important because the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) part of the agreement would allow any foreign company operating in the UK to make a claim against the government for loss of future profits resulting from any regulatory action by the government, such as new legislation. Such claims would be considered by an unelected, unaccountable tribunal composed of three corporate lawyers whose decisions are likely to favour the corporations and would override national laws – and it is widely agreed that the TTIP will be used by our Conservative-led government as a means of permanently locking-in its detrimental changes to the National Health Service.

Labour’s MEPs have already confirmed that they have no intention of supporting this part of the trade agreement; now we have confirmation that only a Labour government in the UK would protect the NHS from the irreparable harm being planned by the Conservative Party.

It is ironic that, if you go to the BBC News website and find their ‘politics’ page, you will see an article entitled Labour makes no sense on Europe, says David Cameron.

In fact, Labour is talking far more sense – in terms of protecting the people of this country – than the Conservatives. Leaving the EU won’t stop us having to conform with European standards, if we want to trade with those countries; and any decision to stop immigration will be met, undoubtedly, with the expulsion of our own 2.5 million expats from the EU countries where they have settled. We will be more crowded, not less.

If the British people want to vote on a way to stop European laws from harming us, then we need look no further than the 2015 general election.

Masochists can vote ‘Conservative’.

You know the sensible option.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political really needs your help.
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:



  1. Robin McBurnie March 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Yes, but we would want that in a clearly-worded, published pre-election pledge sheet. With no get-out clauses. Signed by the entire shadow cabinet.

    • amnesiaclinic March 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      And how do we get that? I seem to think that both Thatcher and Cameron said the NHS was safe with them…. and then they get into office and do a U-turn.

      We do need it in writing as you say!!

      • Barry Davies March 14, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

        Blair and Brown promised it as well, but we saw outsourcing plus from them.

      • Robin McBurnie March 14, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

        Yes, I should have been clearer – or placed more emphasis on – the published bit. By that I mean printed and distributed. Preferably with copies officially sent to all libraries in the country (ok, those that are still open).

  2. willnix5 March 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    The tories have planned.? Too late for damage already done. I dont beleave a thing that come out of westminster anymore. A shower of corporate pirates. A right wing cesspool of either lyers. or no backbone. n When party politics over takes people politics. The politician has failed to represent. They fail to turn up on crucial policy vote, I:E CARERlaws or THE BEDROOM TAX VOTE. Thing that matter to the people. but standing room only when it come to upping their own salerie`s.. N THE EXPENSES ISSUE. RENTING OTHER HOLMES. PROFITING . N LYING. THATS ALL WE GET. No to hell with westminster n all in it. corrupt corrupt corrupt.
    the expenses thing is still being perperated as we speak. They just passed laws to hide it. The money the clain is just greed. What they promise is all been promised before. n they very seldom came thru. They omly come thru wheen it benefits thoses in power or solidifies some unjust legislation. n they rush that thru. But if some other group with viable concerns that affect millions. Its held up. or none of em turn up n the groups concern are voted agaianst. and in many cases never get passed the first hurdle.there is no democracy in westminster.Itsa CABAL, A MAFIA. A CORPORATE ENTITY AT THE WHIMS OF THE CEO`S. So bollocks to them. n burn that shite hoose down.

  3. Johnny Tranquilo March 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    How can we trust Labour, they’re fibbers just like the Tories?

  4. beastrabban March 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  5. Jeffrey Davies March 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    is that the truth but why do we need this agreement if one wants to buy a yanky doodle one will buy it without agreements its how will local councils now being run by a yanky company I rather thought that saying nhs is safe would have been better him saying no to it bet that blue tie hes warring isn’t red either another little tory in the labour party

  6. Thomas M March 13, 2014 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    I don’t trust Labour much; but I trust them more then the Tories and their little yellow Lib Dem friends. We know the Tories and Lib Dems are evil, Labour might be different.

  7. jaypot2012 March 13, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal.

  8. […] This is critically important for the general election next year, because timing is everything. If any of you were in …Continue reading →  […]

  9. The Politicoid March 14, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

    This is the biggest threat to our civil liberties and freedom in history – and nobody is talking about it. Well, you are, and I certainly am

  10. Rai March 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    It’s all to late to save the NHS, the legislation authorising the sell off is already on the statute book and is in line with EU thinking which Labour is hell bent on keeping us in as are the Tories. TTIP will be signed before the end of this year as Camreron wants to have it on the books before the election so that when he is kicked out he will have a nice fat corporate job to fall back on. TTIP will be signed by the EU ministers and not the UK Parliament who will only ratify it in parliament like the craven dogs that they are. Only by pulling out of Europe can we escape it by declaring the whole EU affair illegal in English Common Law and therefor nothing that was signed on our behalf is binding on the people or a future Parliament.

    • Mike Sivier March 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      Oh, well in that case there’s no need for us to bother with it, is there?
      Everybody – who knows what these plans mean – has a duty to do everything possible to prevent them.
      I’m not putting up with your defeatist talk. You might believe it; just don’t pollute anybody else’s thinking with it.
      It is worse than useless.

      • Barry Davies March 18, 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

        I don’t think that is what he was saying at all Mike, we know that Labour and the lib dems are staunch supporters of the eussr so anything coming from there they will sign up to no matter how bad it is for the plebs. We know the tories are a bunch of liars who will say anything to elected and are pretending to be tough on the eussr so they will accept it and it will stay, there is only one choice to save theNHS and that is to vote UKIP.

        • Mike Sivier March 18, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

          What nonsense.
          I have written assurances that Labour will fight the TTIP in the European Parliament. That has to have approval from the leadership in London so Labour will fight it here as well.
          Just because a political party is in favour of remaining in the European Union, that doesn’t mean it has to slavishly agree with everything that organisation is doing.
          The Tories ARE liars, though. While acting tough on Europe for electoral purposes (they are under threat from UKIP) they will support TTIP because it will ‘lock in’ their commercialisation of the National Health Service.
          UKIP are worse than the Tories.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 7:39 am - Reply

        How can labour fight the TTIP it is the unelected commission which is negotiating it and it will be forced on to us, come November the first this year when the really nasty parts of the lisbon treaty, aka the democratically rejected constitution come into force our 9% influence will just about disappear, now explain how labour are going to have any effect on the TTIP at all? There is only one way and that is to get out.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

          This has been discussed here before. Our politicians have not given up on this so I don’t see why the rest of us should take your word for it, Barry.
          Also, why do you feel it is your duty to burden me with having to find out all these answers for you? Can’t you go and look them up yourself, and come back to us with the facts, rather than just your own – slanted – opinions? Do you have a problem when it comes to research?

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 10:51 am - Reply

        Come 1/11/14 the constitution that was forced on to us as the lisbon treaty comes into full force, at which time we will lose vast amounts of power to the unaccountable commission which includes having to accept the TTIP, try reading all 300 pages of it and you will wonder why you are in favour of losing our nation. Make no mistake we are lumbered with the TTIP, and short of leaving the sorry corruption ridden democratically deficient club the NHS will be privatised.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

          The fear is that your prophecy will come true, no matter who we elect – that’s why it’s important to support parties/groups that don’t support TTIP.

          UKIP supports TTIP, so there’s no reason to support it.

          The TTIP would also need to be ratified by the UK Parliament. With the Conservatives in power, it would go through on the nod. If UKIP were any part of a future right-wing coalition, it would also go through on the nod.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

        UKIP does not support TTIP at all, another piece of anti ukip propaganda smear campaign, The parliament can’t stop it, it’s what they call a eu competency which means they make the decision and we are stuck with it, it’s be waved through the brussells parliament without debate as with everything there, and that will be that.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 11:57 am - Reply

          UKIP has flatly refused to state any opposition to TTIP – or can you show us any evidence that they have come out against it?

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

        UKIP are against everything from the eussr and have stated as such they certainly are not in favour of the TTIP

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

          Where and when did they do that? Show me exactly what they said.

      • Jen May 21, 2014 at 9:52 am - Reply

        The Greens are the only ones completely against the TTIP as they are anti corporate. The Greens even refused a donation from a millionaire businessman as they didn’t pay full tax in the UK and have money offshore. They want to close the tax loopholes in Britain & Europe and want the NHS and all vital utilities to be in public hands.

        Although started by Thatcher Both ConDems & Labour have brought in things that have put the NHS at risk & Labour did not reverse anything when they were in power, so I don’t trust Labour with the NHS either, even though they don’t have a privatisation agenda like the Tories, they seem to go along with stuff and set things up which make it easier for the Tories (such as ATOS) and apart from the NHS clause, they are PRO TTIP. TTIP is pro corporate and will put private profits before people & the environment. TTIP is the biggest threat to Europe & democracy we have seen. All the major parties are corporate influenced, even UKIP. I’ve read that UKIP want to privatise the NHS further

        The Greens not only want to keep the NHS public, they also want to return energy, water & rail into public hands. Sadly I think Labour has died and become Tory-lite. :(

        • Mike Sivier May 21, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

          Does anyone disagree with this viewpoint?
          I notice the hackneyed “Labour hired Atos” line is resurfacing. We put that to bed a few months ago because it wasn’t that simple, and it is a shame to see it come back.

        • Mike Sivier May 21, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

          The Greens are NOT completely opposed to TTIP, either. I’ve got a comment from Jill Evans MEP, calling for “balance”, that might change your mind.

      • Jen May 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

        I’m sorry but Labour have been much too quiet on the things that matter to me. They seem to sit on the fence until opinion changes their minds rather than do what’s right anymore. They call for minimum wage where Greens call for living wage and they’re very clear & vocal about re-nationalisation. I haven’t heard the same level of passion from Labour. During the wow petition for example Labour should have stood up for the disabled sooner and more strongly, apart from a tiny minority of amazing labour MP’s, the Greens came all out in publicly supporting WOW early on. Instead they said they would be just as tough as the tories on welfare! I don’t think them hiring ATOS is ‘hackneyed’ it’s actually very relevant to those that have suffered the abuse at their hands. Yes it’s complicated, but you can’t deny their part. Like not reversing the Tory break up of NHS with internal contracts when their were in power, instead they increased it! Considering what the sick and disabled are going through at the moment I feel disgusted and so let down, like we don’t have an opposition, but just a lighter shade of tory. Nothing really changes, it’s just slightly less worse than the current lot and for me that’s just not good enough anymore. :( The Greens are vocal about the things that are important to me and I feel like they have a common goal as me and I connect with most of what they say. “Balance” is a good thing. At the moment politics in this country is out of balance, probably as what is going on is beyond party politics, it’s an erosion of democracy.

        • Mike Sivier May 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

          Labour has been instrumental in getting many local councils to adopt the Living Wage, along with some businesses, if I recall correctly!
          Just because Ed Miliband is talking about the minimum wage at the moment, that doesn’t mean he’s doing nothing about the Living Wage.
          I don’t think you can criticise Labour on the Wow Petition either – I’m a Labour member and I helped draft that particular document! and also many, many Labour members stood up in the Commons in support of it. You should also check Labour support for those on sickness and disability benefits in previous debates, several of which have been detailed on this blog.
          I didn’t say Labour hiring Atos was hackneyed – I said reviving the claim that Labour went out and looked for Atos, then hired that company, is hackneyed. Atos took over the company that was previously carrying on the same work (which, I believe, had been hired by the Conservative Party). It therefore took over that company’s business. Labour later renewed the contract, and it seems most likely that this was done because Labour found nothing wrong with the company’s behaviour at the time. In fact, public discontent with Atos did not really kick into gear until after the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats changed the assessment regime for ESA to make it much tougher on claimants, so it seems you are aiming at the wrong target.
          There are areas in which neoliberal New Labour were wrong, but it seems the party has learned from its mistakes (for example, it has promised to reverse NHS privatisation).
          I have nothing against the Green Party or its policies, apart from a tendency towards negative campaigning that colours its character and that of its supporters.
          Caroline Lucas dabbled in this during the Wow debate, when she harangued Labour, claiming its MPs would not vote in support of the petition. She was entirely wrong in that claim, but merely saying it is damaging, if people want to hear that message.

      • Barry Davies May 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

        Labour hired ATOS because they wanted to outsource a vital part of the welfare services, and they wanted a company who would have no scruples in hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, and not charge as much as the others. UKIP have said they would streamline the management of the nhs not privatise it.

        • Mike Sivier May 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

          You’re not paying attention to the facts, Barry.
          The part of the DWP’s work that Atos was carrying out had already been outsourced – by the Tories. Your comment on Labour’s reasons for hiring Atos is speculation.
          As for UKIP’s policy, I repeat: Has anybody mentioned this to that party’s deputy leader, Paul Nuttall?

      • Barry Davies May 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

        I did pay attention to the facts and they are that labour outsourced far more than the tories have managed and that it is not skips health policy to privatise the nhs quite the opposite. Smear campaigns have abounded regarding ukip just don’t believe everything you read from the bloggers.

        • Mike Sivier May 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

          From – his own website:

          “I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service.

          “I would argue that the very existence of the NHS stifles competition, and as competition drives quality and choice, innovation and improvements are restricted.”

          Your comment about Labour outsourcing more than the Tories has nothing to do with the reasons for hiring Atos.

      • Barry Davies May 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

        Labour hired ATOS just like the hired G4S for the prison service.

  11. Ian Duncan March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Hmmm. “Crucial commitment from @Ed_Miliband today: ‘The next Labour government will work to make sure the NHS is protected from EU competition law’.”

    I think you’re being a wee bit credulous, Mike. “Will work to ensure…”, not exactly definitive, is it? When Miliband himself says something like “we will withdraw from the TTIP entirely if the NHS is not exempted from it”, then you might have a point.Til then…

    Besides, this agreement is very big on reducing worker’s rights, if I remember correctly so, as ever wit Labour, they need to say more and say it more clearly.

    • Barry Davies March 17, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

      They can’t protect the NHS from eussr competition Law, there is no veto available, We will not be able to withdraw from the TTIP once the unelected commission who have negotiated it on our behalf say it is law. Labour are not interested in workers rights because they are as much a far right wing party as the cons and lib dums.

      • Mike Sivier March 17, 2014 at 11:16 am - Reply

        The aim is to oppose it in the European Parliament, in order to either remove the offending parts of the agreement or get rid of the TTIP altogether; if that fails, it would still have to be ratified by the UK Parliament, which won’t happen under a Labour government if the offending parts are in.

      • Barry Davies March 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm - Reply

        Labour has no record of opposing anything in the eussr parliament, and the chances of getting rid of TTIP at brussels are nil, nada, nowt. Labour will ratify it, only one chance article 50 exit.

        • Mike Sivier March 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

          Does anyone else have an opinion on this pessimistic interpretation of events?

    • robinmcburnie March 18, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

      The real problem is the current set of politicians (I refer to all three “main” parties) actually WANT to go along with that. Any decent set would simply “Do a France” and say:

      “Non, Eff you! That is clearly ridiculous, it does harm to our Citizens. We will do it our way!”

      If the lawyers then want to challenge the decision, they would have to demonstrate that the contracts were signed “In good faith” at which point it is relatively easy to argue and demonstrate sufficient doubt about a combination of Failure to consider the best interests of the people and throw in a good amount of question regarding conflict of interest (the number of current MP’s etc with financial interests in the companies involved) and the courts would have great difficulty upholding any of those contracts without losing credibility – and thereby legitimacy.

  12. Ian Duncan March 17, 2014 at 11:49 am - Reply

    I try to avoid the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, as far as possible so I’m not up to speed on what they publish these days. Are the right wing press as up in arms about TTIP as they are about the EU? Both are threats to democracy and don’t really have public backing yet we haven’t had Cameron promising a referendum on TTIP?

    The cynic in me would say this is because the TTIP is all about corporate power, privatisation and the removal of workers’ rights and we know how much politicians and the corporate press love those things.

    • Barry Davies March 18, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

      The TTIP agreement is between America and the eussr, so we have no means of fighting it even in conlablibdum wanted to.

      • Mike Sivier March 18, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

        That is misleading nonsense. There is a huge amount of opposition to the TTIP agreement – despite attempts to hush it up – and Labour, along with other political groups in the European Parliament, are working hard to fight those parts that will harm the interests of the people.
        We have plenty of ways to fight TTIP. Why are you trying to stop people using them by pretending they don’t exist?

      • Barry Davies March 18, 2014 at 11:30 am - Reply

        I don’t argue with you that there is a huge amount of opposition, unfortunately none of it is coming from the europhile parties of the tories labour or the lib dems all of whom are in favour of it going through. the commission agreed the TTIP therefore it will happen.

        • Mike Sivier March 18, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

          That comment is as bad as the trash the Tories keep spouting. You are ignoring the wealth of evidence that Labour and other parties are fighting TTIP because you want to promote your own party’s interests. In doing so, you are trying to deny other people the information they need – that there is opposition to TTIP, that it is growing, that parties other than UKIP are instrumental in that opposition, and that popular support for that opposition will see us get the changes that we need.
          If people were to listen to you, the corporatists would just roll right over everybody.
          Take your defeatist talk somewhere else.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

        It isn’t defeatist its a rational stance given that after november the first this year we have no chance of stopping anything the eussr want to force on to us, and in any event what can 70 mep’s do even if all the brits worked together, which they won’t in the automaton wave everything through eu parliament.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

          It’s nice to see you have taken the lead in giving up already.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

        Well just who is going to stop it? It’s irrational to think we as an ex nation have any influence or power to make a difference.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

          We’re not an ex-nation, though – that’s just a myth being put about by people like UKIP to persuade otherwise rational voters to support them.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm - Reply

        Nations have self determination not governance from a foreign country, it’s no myth try reading the is bon treaty.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

          I’m just having a quick look at the Lisbon Treaty and it seems to me that nation states have MORE influence, rather than less – look at the part where national parliaments can compel the commission to review or withdraw legislation, for example.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

        A quick look at 300 pages of it?????

        • Mike Sivier May 16, 2014 at 12:53 am - Reply

          There are plenty of summaries available. Please don’t start carrying on that they must all be lying, because it’s really tiresome.

      • Barry Davies May 16, 2014 at 6:05 am - Reply

        Well going on the amount of sites that claim to have the rejected ukip 2010 manifesto but they have edited it to make it look dreadful, I would doubt very much if the summaries were anything other than the points the editor wants to make, rather than a concise summation.

        • Mike Sivier May 16, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

          I knew you were going to say something like that. I reject your suggestion.

  13. Ian Duncan March 18, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Has Ed Milliband said anything specific on TTIP?

  14. NHS worker May 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    “Now we have confirmation that only a Labour government in the UK would protect the NHS from the irreparable harm being planned by the Conservative Party.”

    What nonsense. If you are serious about protecting the NHS, give up on labour and vote green or NHS Action Party. The big three are all committed to privatisation. Labour have form here (PFI) and cannot be trusted.

    • Mike Sivier May 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      If Labour, as one of the big three, is committed to privatisation, why has that party promised to reverse all of the privatisation brought about by the Coalition?
      There seems to be a lot of effort to undermine Labour in this blog’s comment columns today, with very little evidence.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 10:55 am - Reply

        To get votes then ignore what they said, still waiting for the referendum we were promised.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

          Again, you are determined to pass the sins of the fathers onto the sons (to use a literary term). You seem so certain that Labour will betray the people, even though the party has been spending the last few years deep in consultation with members and the public over its future policies.
          The public gave the Conservative Party another chance, despite its abysmal record of oppression. Why should they refuse Labour the same courtesy, just on your word?

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm - Reply

        Not at all I trust Andy Burnham, but he has to toe the party line and the party line is to “outsource” more of the NHS which is in reality privatisation. The tories didn’t win the last election, but look what they have done without any real opposition.

        • Mike Sivier May 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

          That may have been the party line at one time (albeit never overtly) but that was a long time ago. Most people learn from their mistakes, which is what Labour has done here.
          There has been strongly-voiced opposition to what the Tories have done since the last election as you know very well. You are also perfectly aware that, with the Liberal Democrats on-side, the Conservatives will never lose a whipped vote during this Parliament. That’s the way it works.
          Any claim that Labour has offered no real opposition is nothing more than a lie.

      • Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

        Nothing to say it is any different now.

        • Mike Sivier May 16, 2014 at 12:52 am - Reply

          Nothing to say it isn’t. As I mentioned before, people learn from their mistakes – especially people who want to be elected.

  15. Barry Davies May 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Well other than Andy Burnham who exactly has said anything that Labour will stop the privatisation?

  16. nivekd July 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Can anyone explain this dichotomy in the Labour Party (which now sees Healey replace Skinner on the NEC)?

Leave A Comment