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Lords vote to include Trade Bill clause to protect NHS from international deals

CAMPAIGNERS celebrated a defeat for the government in the House of Lords after peers voted to include a clause in the Trade Bill to protect the NHS from international deals.

The amendment to the government’s Bill, approved on Monday after the Morning Star went to press, also gives Parliament powers to scrutinise future trade agreements. 

Campaigners called the passing of the amendment a “significant defeat” for the government and a “massive victory for people power” — campaign group We Own It delivered a petition with more than 300,000 signatures to the Lords on the morning of the vote.

In July, Tory MPs voted against similar amendments tabled in the Commons, with all voting against the NHS protection amendment and all but 12 voting down the scrutiny amendment.

The Trade Bill will soon return to Commons, where MPs will once again be asked to vote on the two amendments. 

We Own It campaigner Johnbosco Nwogbo said: “With this amendment we can ensure that our NHS is kept off the table in trade negotiations and we can prevent US healthcare companies getting even more access to our precious health service.

“But the battle isn’t over. Now we need MPs to follow suit and vote to keep these amendments in the Bill and protect our NHS once and for all.”

The government’s defeat comes as two new polls have suggested that the public remain strongly opposed to any trade deals that would see the NHS included in trade deals and strongly in favour of bringing private-run services back in-house, reinstating the NHS as a fully public service.

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