Burnley MP Julie Cooper has joined calls for the NHS to be excluded from an EU deal which could prevent future governments from taking the health service back in to public hands.
Mrs Cooper, who is worried about what she believes is the creeping “privatisation” of the NHS by the Tories, was referring to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the face of new legal advice from Michael Bowsher QC.
I have been contacted by health professionals who are fearful that the NHS, as we know it, will be lost if TTIP goes aheadMP
Mrs Cooper said: “TTIP is being negotiated behind closed doors between EU officials and delegates from the United States.
“It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make the on-going privatisation of the NHS irreversible.
“The deal would also give investors new legal rights to sue the UK Government if it ever attempted to take the privatised health services back into public ownership.”
Mrs Cooper made scathing reference to the Prime Minister’s recent negotiations in Europe to obtain a new deal for the UK.
“Instead of tinkering around the edges, David Cameron should have been fighting to exclude the NHS from TTIP because this deal, should it go ahead, will put the NHS we have built over generations in real jeopardy.
“Although far from perfect, I do believe that we are better off staying in Europe and taking a lead rather than trying to influence from the outside. However this deal must not be allowed to proceed. I have been contacted by health professionals who are fearful that the NHS, as we know it, will be lost if TTIP goes ahead.”
The Burnley MP has added her voice to local health campaigners who are demanding that the Government’s own legal advice, currently being withheld, is released.
Local health campaigner Terry Burns said: “Our NHS is at risk of an irreversible sell-off. If David Cameron is serious about standing up for Britain, then he must act and protect the NHS from TTIP.”