So David Cameron has agreed to a move that means his Conservative government will ‘regret’ part of its legislative programme within days of announcing it.
But this is a small price to pay if it keeps Tory Eurosceptics from forcing him to lose the vote on the Queen’s Speech for the first time since 1924.
As for the effect it will have on TTIP and the NHS – there won’t be any. The NHS will still be subject to the same system as every other commercialised organisation and laws passed to protect UK citizens that harm foreign commercial interests will be attacked in the courts.
Far more important are the words of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who made it clear that he does not approve of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at all. He said:
“I would personally go much further because my concerns about TTIP are not just about the effect on public services but also the principle of investor protection that goes within TTIP – planned rules which would in effect almost enfranchise global corporations at the expense of national governments. This protection of the NHS is an important step but it’s not the whole step.”
David Cameron has moved to quell a rebellion by Conservative Eurosceptics over a controversial trade deal between the EU and US, after he faced the first government defeat on a Queen’s speech since 1924.
The prime minister has been forced to accept a critical amendment about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) after it was signed by 25 Tory backbenchers, and backed by Labour, SNP and Green MPs.
The politicians, led by the Conservative former cabinet minister Peter Lilley, expressed regret that the government did not include a bill in the Queen’s speech that would protect the NHS from the deal.
A No 10 spokesman said: “As we’ve said all along, there is no threat to the NHS from TTIP. So if this amendment is selected, we’ll accept it.”
But members of the official campaign to leave the EU, Vote Leave, said they were not reassured by the statement. Steve Baker, one of the signatories on the amendment and a leading figure for Brexit, said that by accepting the amendment the government was conceding that the trade deal did represent a risk for Britain’s health service.
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