Red-faced PM accepts motion of regret over TTIP
THE government made history yesterday as the first to accept a motion of “regret” to its own Queen’s Speech in a humiliating climbdown over TTIP.
David Cameron reluctantly accepted a cross-party amendment to his programme for government which called for the exemption of the NHS from the EU-US trade deal.
The Prime Minister stubbornly insists the NHS is not at risk from the investor-state dispute settlement that would allow companies to sue the government for lost profits if services are not privatised.
But a rebellion by Tory Eurosceptics in support of a Labour motion to protect TTIP from the treaty forced him to accept it to avoid the first defeat on a Queen’s Speech since 1924.
Another 14 Tory backbenchers signed the amendment yesterday against the orders of party whips.
That took the total number of Tory rebels, which include health select committee chair Sarah Wollaston, to 43 — which far outstripped the government’s majority of 12.
The “humble adress” endorsing the Queen’s Speech was approved by 297 votes to 237 but the thanks now include a line that MPs “respectfully regret that a Bill to protect the National Health Service from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was not included in the Gracious Speech.”
Labour MP Paula Sherriff, who laid the amendment, said: “It is clear that a majority in the Commons, as well as in the country, do not accept the government’s position on TTIP, and believe that the trade deal that is currently on the table is a clear threat to the NHS and other public services.”
She said the House passing a “motion of regret on the Queen’s Speech is an unprecedented humiliation for any government.”
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