There are fears that, given the desire (if not desperation) to sign new trade deals in the wake of Brexit, the UK’s negotiating position will be viewed as weak. There will be pressure to accept lower standards, less regulation and more liberalisation, such as greater access to the NHS – Theresa May has already refused to rule out including the NHS in future trade deals.
Many argue that it is not enough to try to exclude the NHS, but that the whole nature of the new kinds of treaties on trade and services is unacceptable – not least because they put the interests of multinational corporations over those of the public. Campaigning to protect the NHS may be a stop gap, but it can also raise general awareness about the broader issues raised by new breed of trade and investment agreements.
Ways of taking action include:
- supporting the NHS Reinstatement Bill which, if passed, will protect the NHS from being included in future trade deals by restoring the NHS as an unambiguously public service.
- Join Global Justice Now, which campaigns for greater democracy in relation to trade deals. See their web page on resources for more information.
- write to your MP asking them to support Caroline Lucas’s amendment to the Trade Bill that calls for the scrapping of corporate courts, the exclusion of public services from trade deals, and the defence of environmental and social standards;
- sign Early Day Motion 128 to ensure
- the right of Parliament to set a mandate for each trade negotiation,
- the right of the public to be consulted in setting that mandate,
- the right of Parliament to amend, reject and review trade deals, and
- for full transparency in negotiations.
For more information see: