CAMPAIGNERS opposed to trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States which they fear could lead to privatisation of the National Health Service (NHS) have been backed by Monmouth MP David Davies.
Mr Davies met with local members of lobby group 38 Degrees on Friday (30 October) to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and receive a petition with signatures from constituents asking for the proposed new trade treaty to be stopped.
The aim of TTIP is to boost the economies of the EU and the US by removing or reducing barriers to trade and foreign investment. However, there are growing concerns about the rights being granted to multinational companies under the guise of ‘investor protections’ and the system of private tribunals – the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism – that allows corporations to sue governments whose policies damage their interests.
British campaigners are particularly worried about the possible impact of ISDS on the NHS. There is, they argue, a danger that if a government wants to reverse any arrangements to contract services out to private suppliers, it might risk being sued under ISDS.
European officials insist TTIP’s ISDS provisions won’t have any such effect, but Mr Davies said people were right to be sceptical.
“The European Commission has offered repeated assurances that the NHS will not be threatened in any way by this treaty,” he said.
“However, EU institutions have a long history of misleading the public so I am not surprised campaigners from 38 Degrees are sceptical.
“We agreed the EU has too much power over national governments and that David Cameron is right to call for powers to come back to the nation state.”
Mr Davies said he also agreed with 38 Degrees that British courts should have supremacy over British laws.
“I am concerned that the European Court of Human Rights interferes in our laws. Foreign judges should not be making or enforcing laws in the UK and I have been saying so for a long time,” he added.
“The TTIP treaty will not be ratified until it has been discussed in Parliament. My message to members of 38 Degrees is that if they remain convinced the EU is trying to privatise our NHS, then they should vote for Britain’s withdrawal from Europe in the forthcoming referendum.”