Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the petition opposing NHS privatisation and trade deals with the United States.
Whilst I support free trade agreements, which will help to grow our export base across the whole of the UK and elevate rights and standards internationally, they must not damage the NHS as a free and universal public service.
The privatisation of the NHS was a prospect of increasing concerning under Theresa May’s premiership. The chances of this, however, have dramatically increased with Mr Johnson and his drive for a No Deal Brexit. In the event of a No Deal Brexit the UK could be forced into a bad trade deal with the US and Donald Trump. Whilst Mr Johnson has said that he believes the NHS will not be part of trade deals, the US ambassador has shown that it still believes the NHS would have to be part of the deal.
As I posted in March, I was opposed to the government agreeing to even a single clause of a trade deal which would threaten the NHS and this is still the case. In 2017 I stood on a manifesto which included a commitment to reverse the privatisation of our NHS and return our health service to expert public control. It also committed to ensuring all future trade deals safeguard the right to regulate in the public interest and to protect public services.
I was pleased to see that at our annual conference over the weekend our Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, reaffirmed this by saying that the Labour Party would “fight a trade deal with Trump that sells off our NHS”.
I can assure you that the Labour Party will continue to resist a No Deal Brexit and will fight to keep the NHS in public hands.