‘Moral Duty To Protect The NHS’

Cllr Alan Hall has written directly to the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board, Liz Truss calling for the Government to protect the NHS in any trade deal and prohibit secret trade deals. This is after the House of Lords amended the Trade Bill with a new clause dubbed the ‘NHS Protection Amendment’.

Without the heroic sacrifices of those that work in our health service, we would have been so much worse off in this pandemic. The NHS protection amendment is a good way to say thank you to our NHS and its staff.” – Cllr Alan Hall

The letter explains that the NHS protection amendment would prohibit the sale of NHS patient data to private companies, protect the terms and conditions of employment of NHS workers, prevent US pharma companies hiking the prices of drugs sold to our NHS, and guarantee that decisions that affect our NHS are made by the relevant UK authority, not by a foreign court.

Campaigners hailed the passing of the amendment a “significant defeat” for the government and a “massive victory for people power” according to the Morning Star. Lobby group We Own It delivered a petition with more than 300,000 signatures to the Lords on the morning of the vote.

Jan Savage a member of Keep Our NHS Public’s subcommittee on free trade agreements said: “It was clear from the debate on the Trade Bill that Lords were impressively well-informed, partly because of the efforts of organisations like Trade Justice Movement, Global Justice Now, We Own It and, not least, Keep Our NHS Public members.”

However, she also warned: “The Trade Bill will return to the Commons shortly, where – infuriatingly – it is likely that the amendments will be thrown out. However, it’s clear that there is now significant support for Parliament to have a more decisive role in approving trade deals and protecting the NHS.”

We Own It are asking people to write to their MPs now.

The Conservative MPs in the House of Commons have voted down the new clause when the measure was before them in July 2020. The campaign succeeded in the House of Lords, will MPs back this now? This is a crucial vote.

Full text of the letter:

Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities
The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP

Dear Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP,

On Tuesday 19 January, the House of Commons will vote on amendments added to the Trade Bill by the House of Lords. I am writing to ask you and the Government to vote for the NHS Protection amendment.

I was appalled to hear that Conservative MPs voted against the NHS protection amendment – New Clause 17 – in July last year because the government promised to keep the NHS off the table in trade deals. If our NHS is truly off the table, MPs should have no difficulty putting NHS protection into the law. Surely, there is a moral duty to protect the NHS?

Moral duty to protect the NHS

The NHS protection amendment would prohibit the sale of NHS patient data to private companies, protect the terms and conditions of employment of NHS workers, prevent US pharma companies hiking the prices of drugs sold to our NHS, and guarantee that decisions that affect our NHS are made by the relevant UK authority, not by a foreign court.

Without the heroic sacrifices of those that work in our health service, we would have been so much worse off in this pandemic. The NHS protection amendment is a good way to say thank you to our NHS and its staff.

I would also like you to vote for the scrutiny amendment to the Trade Bill to stop trade deals being signed in secret. Our MPs should be able to scrutinise trade deals to ensure that our NHS is not being chopped up and sold off in secret.

Please vote for the NHS protection amendment and the scrutiny amendment to the Trade Bill after all, scrutiny helps make better decisions.

Cllr Alan Hall

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