As the UK leaves the European Union and seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we will need to agree new international trade deals. Whilst I am not opposed to this in principle, I believe that any agreements should serve our interests in the long term. They must include protections of our existing rights and standards and benefits for UK workers and businesses of all sizes. The NHS should be protected in any future trade agreements. I continue to believe that the NHS should be publicly owned and free at the point of delivery.
The UK Government have said that the NHS, and the price it pays for drugs, will not be on the table in trade negotiations with the US. I believe it is crucial that the Government goes further and enshrines this in law.
As the Trade Bill does not include the provisions I mentioned above, I voted against it at Second Reading. Unfortunately, the Government was able to use its majority in the House of Commons to successfully pass the Bill through this stage of the Parliamentary process. It will now proceed to Committee Stage where it will receive further scrutiny.