Health campaigners to lobby south Northamptonshire MP over trade deal which they claim threatens NHS

Campaigners in Daventry earlier this month
Campaigners in Daventry earlier this month

Campaigners in south Northamptonshire are calling for action from their MP over a trade deal that they say threatens the NHS.

A group in Towcester has joined a nationwide campaign to lobby politicians urging them to get the NHS out of an EU trade deal that they claim “threatens the irreversible privitisation of the health service”.

They are holding a protest on Wednesday October 28 at the recreation ground next to Waitrose in the town and are calling on their MP, Andrea Leadsom, to support them

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “The ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ trade deal is being negotiated behind closed doors, between EU bureaucrats 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. TTIP could grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.

“The government is withholding legal advice from the public that it has received on the NHS and TTIP and Andrea Leadsom should call for its release and demand David Cameron takes the NHS out of TTIP.

“The refusal by the Tories to exempt our NHS from the American trade deal flies in the face of legal advice seen by health campaigners which confirms that there are clear dangers arising from TTIP that could impact the NHS unless David Cameron is ready to use the veto to deliver a robust carve-out,” the spokesperson said.

It is the second protest to be held in south Northamptonshire, with campaigners making a similar stand in Daventry. The MP there, Chris Heaton-Harris, dismissed the protest as misleading.

“Local people are being fundamentally mislead. The EU Commission, the US, our Government, and a cross party group of MPs have all already said the NHS is not included in TTIP,” he said.

“There has not been a free trade agreement between two trading blocs like this that has not resulted in increased economic activity. I am fundamentally for free trade agreements.”