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Vince Cable challenges PM on protection for NHS in post Brexit US trade deals

February 14, 2018 6:00 PM

Vince Cable responds to P.M.s answer to his question on protecting the NHS...


'Pathetic non-committal response to my question at #PMQs stands in stark contrast to guarantees given by EU trade negotiator with US that #NHS would be protected. Brexit Britain in a far weaker negotiating position'.

7th February 2018

During PMQs, Sir Vince Cable asked Mrs May to confirm that in her conversations with President Trump she had made it "absolutely clear" the "NHS is not for sale".

Q: "The Prime Minister knows that one of the key objectives of American trade negotiators in any future deal after Brexit is to secure access for American companies to business in the NHS," he said.

"Can she give an absolute guarantee that in those negotiations the NHS will be excluded from their scope, and can she confirm that in her conversations with President Trump she's made it absolutely clear to him that the NHS is not for sale?"

A. Refusing to give the assurances, Mrs May replied: "We are starting the discussions with the American administration first of all looking at what we can do to increase trade between the US and the United Kingdom already, even before the possibility of any free trade agreement."


The EU Chief Negotiator for TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) wrote to the UKs All party Parliamentary Group.


Member States do not have to open public health services to competition from private providers, nor do they have to outsource services to private providers; 

* Member States are free to change their policies and bring back outsourced services back into the public sector whenever they choose to do so, in a manner respecting property rights (which in any event are protected under UK law); 

* It makes no difference whether a Member State already allows some services to be outsourced to private providers, or not. 

Read full letter: