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Tuesday 7th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

Activists demand a Commons debate on shady free trade deal

CAMPAIGNERS protested outside Parliament yesterday against a government “cover-up” for refusing a Commons debate on a trade deal that puts “democracy and public services up for sale.”

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) is a “secretly negotiated” trade deal between Canada and the European Union that will “undermine our democracy and destroy our basic rights,” campaign group Ceta Blockers argued.

They slammed a European committee meeting which took place in Parliament yesterday as “hastily arranged” and demanded that the deal is subject to an emergency Commons debate ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on February 15.

Ceta Blockers demanded transparency and democracy in any future trade deals.

They claim that Ceta has already been signed by the European Council of Ministers — the decision-making body of the EU — and wrote to MPs warning that if the deal is voted in on February 15 it will be provisionally implemented “without any debate in the UK Parliament.”

Last October, the European scrutiny committee had met and recommended a debate on Ceta due to the “complex legal and policy issues” it raises, both while Britain is a member of the EU and after its withdrawal.

Outside Parliament, Ceta Blockers spokesman Colin Crilly told the Star: “Ceta is on the verge of being signed yet the Commons has not debated it, they keep stalling.

“The lack of transparency and democracy in this deal shows a contempt for the British people, they think they know best.”

“But profit is the driving force behind Ceta and corporations will have the right to sue governments that will act on behalf of corporations instead of the people.

“The NHS is really in the firing line and once it has been privatised it can’t be reversed. Public services are in real jeopardy.”