Berwick MP rebels with other Eurosceptics over TTIP deal

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan was one of a number of Tories who went against the Government to sign an amendment over a controversial proposed trade deal between the EU and US.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20 May, 2016, 10:32
General Election count in Alnwick 2015 Anne-Marie Trevelyan Picture by Jane Coltman

Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to accept a critical amendment about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) after it was signed by 25 Tory backbenchers, including Mrs Trevelyan, and backed by Labour, SNP and Green MPs.

The politicians, led by the Conservative former cabinet minister Peter Lilley, expressed regret that the Queen’s Speech did not include a bill that would protect the NHS from the deal.

Neither the EU nor the UK presently has a trade deal with the USA. TTIP would harmonise product specification and create a special regime for investment.

It would also introduce the Investor-State Dispute Settlement System (ISDS). This creates a system of tribunals in which large US companies can sue governments (but not vice-versa) for pursuing policies which harm their investments. There is concern from MPs of all parties, that this element could leave public services, the NHS in particular, open to legal threat by American corporations.

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The TTIP deal is being negotiated by the European Commission on behalf of all 28 EU member states.

Mrs Trevelyan said: “I am pleased the Government now accepts that the NHS is at risk from TTIP. Legal opinions by top QCs have warned that TTIP could leave elements of the NHS open to legal challenge which is bad news for democracy and for patients.

“The Government’s acceptance of this amendment will not protect the NHS from TTIP nor will it stop the EU forging ahead with TTIP – the UK has no power to stop that. The only way to prevent the UK and our public services being bound by the terms of TTIP is to leave the jurisdiction of the EU by voting to leave on June 23. Then we can write our own trade deal with the USA which is tailored for our needs and won’t put our valued services at risk.”