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CAMPAIGNERS hit out today against secret trade talks between Donald Trump and Westminster which could leave the NHS in tatters during the US president’s controversial visit to Britain.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox confirmed yesterday that US-UK trade talks had taken place early in the week.
Mr Fox was one of the people who greeted Mr Trump and his wife Melania when they arrived at Stansted airport yesterday afternoon.
Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered across Britain against the highly controversial visit, with a mass demonstration and rally planned in London today.
Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said that one of the reasons for Mr Trump’s visit is to continue talks for a trade deal that would cause damage to public services in Britain.
He said: “Trump’s visit to Britain is about pulling the UK closer to Trump, including laying the ground for a TTIP-style trade deal with the US which would threaten our NHS, financial regulations and food standards.
“When Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump on a visit, she clearly wanted to create a much deeper relationship with the US – one that would cement deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation into the British economy for decades to come.
“Just in the last week the government has had more secret talks with the US and they will talk trade this coming weekend. These talks happen with no accountability to the British public or even parliament.
“But we know enough to be able to work out that such a trade deal would affect everyone in Britain, and would lock in the ‘market knows best’ approach which has created such unsustainable levels of inequality and alienation in our society – never mind the damage it has done to the climate.”
Mr Dearden has said the debate on the Trade Bill, where MPs will vote next Tuesday, must be used to give control over trade policy to Parliament and the people.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against Mr Trump's immigration policies, which have torn families apart at the Mexican border and have led to children being put in cages.
He said: “Theresa May has invited President Trump to our country at a time when his dangerous and inhumane policies are putting the lives and wellbeing of millions of people at risk.
“We are committed to dialogue, including of course with those we strongly disagree with and in government we would find a way to work with his administration while also standing up for our values.
“But instead the Tories are rewarding President Trump with a red-carpet welcome.”
Mr Trump's visit to Britain follows his two-day Nato summit, in which the president attacked and chastised member nations for not spending 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.
He accused Germany – which spends 1.2 per cent of its GDP on defence – of being “totally controlled by Russia” for agreeing to a new oil and gas pipeline with the country.
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith warned that the “only ones who will benefit from the drive for ever-greater military spending are the arms companies that stand to make a killing from it.
“The US, the UK and other Nato countries have spent billions of pounds on a failed foreign policy centred around disastrous wars which have killed hundreds of thousands of people and done nothing to make people safer.”
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