THE Rachel Maclean Column:
“NO, the NHS is not for sale.
I have opened my mailbox in recent days to see angry comments from constituents convinced the nasty Tories have voted to do something terrible.
Except of course we haven’t, and what’s happened is that people have been misled into believing a highly spun stunt manufactured by the Labour Party to cause outrage.
We are being accused of wanting to privatise the NHS and hand it over to President Trump simply because Conservative MPs defeated a Labour amendment to the Trade Bill on Monday which said we should not privatise the NHS and hand it over to President Trump in a trade deal with the USA.
The problem is that the Trade Bill has nothing to do with the NHS and nothing to do with the USA.
The Trade Bill is a continuity Bill. In other words, it simply puts the trade agreements that we already had as members of the European Union into UK law.
It cannot be used to implement new free trade agreements with countries such as the US.
The NHS is already protected by specific carve outs, exceptions and reservations in these trade negotiations. So I didn’t vote to not protect the NHS because our NHS is already protected.
There is no EU trade deal with the USA and so the Bill does not apply to the USA.
The Prime Minister has been clear that under no circumstances would we agree to any free trade deal that put the NHS on the table.
I have not spent the last few years fighting to return services to the Alexandra Hospital only to see it privatised, sold off or undermined in any way and that will always be my view.
As the daughter of an NHS doctor I have been brought up to cherish our NHS – I always have and I always will.”