PM’s constituency calls for limits on ultra-capitalist trade deal
DAVID CAMERON was accused of “cutting himself adrift” from public opinion yesterday after research showed that his constituents oppose inclusion of the NHS in a major EU-US trade deal.
The Prime Minister has enthusiastically championed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being drawn up behind closed doors in Brussels.
Conservative ministers have brushed off fears that the NHS will not be hit by clauses that will allow private firms including US health corporations to sue governments if they are stopped from bidding for services.
But voters in Mr Cameron’s Witney, Oxfordshire, constituency gave a massive thumbs down yesterday, with 82 per cent calling for the NHS to be excluded from TTIP negotiations.
Those sentiments were echoed in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s South West Surrey seat where 80 per cent opposed the inclusion of the NHS in the TTIP deal, a survey of 2,000 by pollsters Survation found.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey accused the PM of refusing to listen to the public on the issue.
“The NHS unites this country, it is the single most important local issue for voters,” he said.
“The Prime Minister has cut himself adrift from public opinion. Other countries have vetoed sectors from the trade deal.
“The government has failed to give one decent reason why the NHS should be in this trade deal.”
He said Unite has polled 17 Tory seats and in every case voters opposed the NHS being part of TTIP.
Anti-poverty charity War on Want chief executive John Hilary, whose organisation is calling for TTIP to be scrapped entirely, has previously branded the deal a “Trojan horse for corporations.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “To be absolutely clear, TTIP cannot force the UK to privatise public services and this government would not allow TTIP negotiations to harm the NHS.”
But Mr McCluskey added: “David Cameron has claimed that there is ‘no threat’ to the NHS from TTIP. If this is true, why doesn’t Cameron just remove the NHS from the trade deal?”