NHS and Future Trade Deals — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 22nd July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool 4:30 pm, 22nd July 2019

I agree that it is truly a case of words, not deeds.

Although people may find it reassuring to hear the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care say that the NHS is not for sale and will not be on the table in any future trade talks, we cannot take his word for granted. Equally, we cannot ignore the remarks to which he was responding. They were made by the US ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr. In that interview, he confirmed that in a trade deal with the United States, the whole economy—including the NHS—would be on the table. The shadow Health Secretary described those comments as “terrifying.” He went on to say:

“The ambassador’s comments…show that a real consequence of a no-deal Brexit, followed by a trade deal with Trump, will be our NHS up for sale.”

Others such as Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit party, have advocated a move away from state-funded healthcare to a more Americanised model. In 2014, he told UK Independence party supporters:

“I think we are going to have to think about healthcare very, very differently. I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare.”

Whatever opinions, promises or pledges are out there, it is clear that if the NHS is not for sale, it must be protected and future-proofed against the outcomes of any trade agreements with the USA and any other nation state. That, simply, is what the petition asks for.