Efford’s NHS bill passes first reading – another blow to TTIP

Efford’s NHS bill passes first reading – another blow to TTIP

Date: 21 November 2014

Today in Parliament, 241 MPs voted in favour of the Clive Efford’s private member’s bill aimed at preventing the privatisation of the NHS and 18 MPs voted against, which means that it has passed its first reading. The bill contains a section that would protect the NHS from the threat posed to it by the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal that Cameron and friends are trying to push through in the EU, which is why we asked WDM supporters to contact their MPs to vote in favour of the bill. Thank you so much to everyone who took action!

This was a rare occasion where MPs have had a chance to express their thoughts and those of their constituents about the controversial  EU-USA trade deal currently being negotiated in secret by lawyers and bureaucrats. MPs are rightly concerned about the threat that TTIP would pose to the NHS, and becoming increasingly concerned about the effects the deal will have on safety standards, environmental protection, regulations on food and drink, and internet privacy.

This is another problem for David Cameron and the supporters of TTIP.  Almost a million people across the EU have signed a petition calling for the deal to be scrapped, the French Government have signalled their displeasure with it in no uncertain terms and now Cameron’s own Parliament is starting to show discontent. While this bill was focused on the health provisions of TTIP, adds to the mounting pile of uncomfortable questions about the deal in its entirety. People both sides of the Atlantic are worried about the corporate power grab that TTIP represents.

It’s worth noting that while concerns have been raised in some quarters about the wider substance of the bill, others have argued that passing the bill at this stage allows for the opportunity for some of the issues to be resolved in the next hearing rather than it being killed off altogether. This piece from John Hilary of our allies War on Want explains some of the shortcomings of the bill but also why they have, like us, chosen to support it.