Politics

Brexit plan under threat: Left-wing activists petition House of Lord’s to block trade bill

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Pro-Nationalisation lobby group We Own It are calling on peers to amend the Trade Bill to ensure NHS services are excluded from all future trade agreements. Tories have already fought off attempts to add an amendment to the Bill by Labour in the House of Commons, saying it is unnecessary.

The Prime Minister has already promised the NHS will not be for sale in trade talks with other countries.

In October he said: “In any future trade negotiations with our country, our national health service will never be on the table.”

But campaigners are hoping to persuade peers to alter the Trade Bill because they don’t trust the Boris Johnson’s words.

They want it written into law that the NHS will be protected in trade deals and also want to give MPs power to vote on agreements before they come into affect.

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Handing in their petition signatures in six boxes outside Parliament this morning, We Own It unveiled a banner reading: “All we want for Christmas is NHS protection from trade deals.”

The Trae Bill must be in place by December 31 in order for the UK implement trade deals with countries it has already agreed.

Any amendments in the House of Lords would slow down the passing of the legislation, with the end of year deadline just weeks away.

Failure for it to come into law before December 31 could spark chaos for trade once the UK has left the EU transition period.

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It would also potential cause problems for Mr Johnson and the Government down the line when trying to implement trade deals signed with the US and other international partners.

The amendment would give MPs the chance to veto any trade deals going forward they do not like.

Speaking on the petition, We Own It campaigner Johnbosco Nwogbo said: “The public have made their views crystal clear.

“Over 300,000 people have stood up and said that we won’t allow our NHS to be carved up and sold off in a trade deal with the USA or any other country.

“The time for warm words and reassurances is over.

“Boris Johnson has consistently told us that he will take the NHS ‘off the table’ in trade deals.

“Now it’s time for MPs and Lords to write that into law.

“The way to make sure our precious NHS is protected is for both the House of Lords and the House of Commons to amend the Trade Bill, excluding our NHS from trade deals and giving Parliament the power to scrutinise them.”

We Own It’s petition was received by crossbench peer and the co-founder of the Big Issue magazine, John Bird.

The House of Lords is due to debate the Trade Bill later today.

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