An amendment to the government’s Trade Bill that was intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services from any form of control from outside the UK has been defeated
MPs voted by 340 votes to 251 against supporting the amendment.
We Own It campaigns officer Ellen Lees said: “It’s frankly sickening that at a time when we’re more reliant on our NHS than ever before, the government has steamrollered through parliament a Trade Bill that offers absolutely no protection for our treasured NHS. We’re now at risk of higher drug prices, private companies being able to sue the government if it tries to limit their ability to profit from our healthcare, and Donald Trump getting his hands on our NHS.
“Worse still, parliament won’t even get to have a say in any future trade deals – meaning our NHS could be offered up on a silver platter to the highest bidder, and we wouldn’t know a thing about it before a trade deal is signed and sealed.
“This government promised to ‘take back control’ but they’re doing the opposite. They promised to keep the NHS off the table. They’re doing the opposite. Now it’s time for the House of Lords to step up to the plate and fight back against this totally undemocratic power grab.
The government insisted UK law offers such protections and any changes would have to come before parliament.
But for Labour, shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson said the lack of scrutiny threatens to leave the health service “wide open to pharmaceutical giants”.