Stroud’s MP Siobhan Baillie has responded after voting against an amendment aimed at protecting the NHS from any form of control from outside the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit trade deal.
The amendment to the Government’s Trade Bill, which was put forward by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and supported by Labour leader Keir Starmer and a number of other senior Labour MPs, was voted down by 340 votes to 251 in parliament last night.
The amendment would have ensured the ability to provide a ‘comprehensive and publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery’ was not compromised by any future trade deal.
Ms Baillie has now responded following the vote.
In a post on her Facebook page, she said:
Last night, the House of Commons debated the Trade Bill. I am aware that the some people are questioning whether the NHS is no longer protected due to a vote on an opposition amendment.
While I know we have been over such matters many times, I have provided some information below. I hope it is helpful.
Firstly, I value the NHS deeply and believe in its guiding principles: that it is universal and free at the point of need.
The Government has been repeatedly clear that our NHS will never be on the table in any trade agreements. You are aware that I strongly support this position.
Claims that I or the government want to sell off the NHS or that we will not protect the NHS or its workers in any way because we did not accept an opposition amendment about the NHS in this Trade Bill are not true.
This Trade Bill is all about transitioning Free Trade Agreements we have already agreed so they continue in force after the transition period with the EU ends. To implement new agreements with global partners, the Government will bring forward separate primary legislation.
Please note that there will be opportunities for both the public and Parliament to consider, contribute to and scrutinise negotiations for future free trade agreements.
This is the appropriate time to consider detailed aspects of specific trade agreements. There will also be public consultations ahead of all negotiations.
Parliament will have the opportunity to say whether a treaty should be ratified.
All of the above means that rigorous protections for our NHS will be maintained and included in any future trade agreements to which our country is party.
We all have personal reasons for supporting the NHS and for clapping all those Thursdays in recent weeks. My mum is a nurse and our local health teams have recently brought my baby daughter into the world. I cannot thank them enough and hope that the NHS will stop being a political football as soon as possible.