Why did our MPs vote against an amendment which hoped to protect the NHS from control outside of the UK?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 July 2020

MP for Hertsmere Oliver Dowden and MP for Welwyn Hatfield Grant Shapps. Picture: Office of Mr Dowden/ Office of Mr Shapps.

MP for Hertsmere Oliver Dowden and MP for Welwyn Hatfield Grant Shapps. Picture: Office of Mr Dowden/ Office of Mr Shapps.


This week our MPs voted against an amendment to the Trade Bill which claimed to protect the NHS from foreign control.

The New Clause 17 of the Trade Bill sought ‘to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK’.

The clause was voted down 337 to 248, with both Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps and Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden voting against the amendment.

However Mr Shapps believes there have been a number of misleading statements about New Clause 17.

He said: “The Trade Bill I voted through parliament is a straight-forward piece of legislation that allows the UK to continue trade agreements with 20 countries – rolling over the agreements from our time as members of the EU.

“This had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the NHS. The government is clear that the NHS will never be on the table in any trade agreements and this Trade Bill doesn’t change that.

You may also want to watch:

“Tabling poorly thought out amendments such as New Clause 17, which are not relevant to the purpose of a bill and forcing the Government to vote them down is a standard opposition parliamentary tactic. It’s pure politics and not based on any good-faith desire to improve the law.

“As someone whose life was literally saved by the NHS, I know all too well the value of our NHS and can assure the people of Welwyn Hatfield that the NHS will be protected in all future trade agreements.”

A petition has passed 200,000 signatures calling for members of the House of Lords to amend the Trade Bill to give parliament a say over trade deals and protect our NHS.

The petition says that ‘Boris Johnson has betrayed the British people. He promised to “take back control” and “keep the NHS off the table”, but over 300 of his MPs have voted against parliamentary scrutiny and NHS protection in the Trade Bill debate’.

It continues ‘We have one last chance at stopping Donald Trump and his healthcare cronies. We need the House of Lords to step up now and protect our NHS’.

For more visit: weownit.org.uk/lords-NHS-trade-bill-petition

To view the full details of New Clause 17 visit here.

Oliver Dowden has been contacted for a response but has not responded.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times