Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:01 pm on 9th July 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment) 5:01 pm, 9th July 2015

I agree with the hon. Lady.

What is demanded, and what we require, is a clear and unambiguous exemption from the deal that guarantees that democratically elected Governments in Scotland and beyond cannot be forced to privatise services and that any attempts to roll back previous privatisation will not be open to challenge under the new rules. These conditions must be explicit.

We come now to one of the areas of greatest concern: the process known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. Including this type of measure in the agreement potentially undermines the right of European Governments to regulate effectively on a range of issues. As the Minister will be aware, the most relevant example of that is the recent action by the Uruguayan Government to legislate to increase the size of the health warnings on cigarette packs, in an attempt to reduce the number of people smoking and improve public health.

In response, the multinational tobacco giant, Philip Morris, used a similar process to sue the Uruguayan Government. The concern of many of us, including the Scottish Government and our trade unions, is that similar measures could be used by private organisations here to limit our democratically elected Government’s powers in a range of important areas. My right hon. Friend Alex Salmond has considerable experience in this area, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I understand that if he catches your eye he hopes to raise it before the Minister replies.