Letter to the Guardian on TTIP and the NHS

11 April 2016

Jude and David Martin MEP submitted a letter to the Guardian on the potential impact of TTIP on the NHS. The letter read:

Dear Editor,

Labour MEPs share many of the concerns expressed by Lord Owen about the potential threat to the NHS ("Brexit is necessary to protect NHS from TTIP, says David Owen", 6 April 2016) and our public services and have already taken action to ensure that negotiators address them in any EU/US TTIP trade deal.

The European Parliament has a veto on all EU trade deals. Labour MEPs have taken a strong stand against Investor-State Dispute Settlement, in which multinationals can sue governments in separate investment courts, and are pushing for a full and comprehensive exclusion of all public services in the TTIP negotiations. The very concerns Lord Owen raises have already been addressed by MEPs and are now being considered by the negotiators.

His assertion we should leave the EU because of these concerns is ludicrous. Leaving the EU will do nothing to address the Tory government's desire to privatise the NHS or other services. It is our Tory government who were actively defending the inclusion of ISDS in TTIP and have refused to publish their legal advice on the potential implications for the NHS. In fact, as four former Labour health secretaries declared earlier this week, leaving the EU would be a disaster for our NHS.

The best way to defend Britain's national interest and protect our NHS and other public services is to keep our seat at the negotiating table and get TTIP right in the first place. 

Again this shows how the EU plays an important role in protecting our public services from any potential TTIP deal. This is not something that could be said of the Conservative government.

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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