Bill aims to ensure NHS cannot be used as bargaining chip in trade deals

Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray
Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray

Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray has backed a Private Members Bill in a bid to protect the NHS.

Glenrothes MP Peter Grant has lodged The Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill to the House of Commons aims to prevent the UK Government using the NHS as a bargaining chip in any future trade deals.

This is to ensure it remains publicly owned, publicly operated, and its services publicly commissioned.

The Bill would also enshrine in law that explicit consent of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Parliaments and Assemblies is required on any trade deals.

During the 2019 snap General Election, bringing forward an NHS Protection Bill was a key commitment in the SNP manifesto.

Mr Neil was eager to give the Bill his backing.

He said: “The NHS in Scotland – and all parts of the UK – is precious to those who use it and we must do everything we can to protect it.

“While health policy is devolved to Scotland, we cannot currently stop Westminster from signing away our NHS in a damaging trade deal, or entering agreements with other nations that would dramatically push up drug prices or risk our public services.

“That is why I am supporting this proposal for a new law that will protect our National Health Services from Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

“I will not stand idly by while there is a risk that the Tories will trade away our vital health service for a trade deal with Donald Trump.

Our NHS has been there to care for and protect us for the last 70 years – now it’s our turn to stand up and protect the NHS.”

The Bill will return to Parliament on June 26.