Theresa May refuses to exclude NHS contracts from USA trade deals

Theresa May refused to rule out the NHS being included in the US-UK trade deal after Brexit prompting claims she could allow trans Atlantic privatisation

Theresa May refuses to exclude NHS contracts from USA trade deals

Downing Street has ruled out allowing private U.S. healthcare firms to bid to provide NHS services as part of a Brexit trade deal after Theresa May swerved the question at prime minister's questions.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was proud of the U.K.'s health care system after President Donald Trump attacked the National Health Service.

May was pressed by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable over whether she would allow a future trade deal to give USA corporations the right to bid on lucrative NHS contracts.

The spokesman added: "Any trade deal ensures decisions about public services continue to be made by United Kingdom governments, not by our trade partners".

"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?".

The Prime Minister backed the proposals in the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act to allow USA and United Kingdom authorities to access messages or emails of citizens suspected of terrorism, murder, people trafficking or child abuse.

'Her pathetic non-committal response, failing to even mention our health service once, stands in stark contrast to guarantees given in 2015 by the European Union trade negotiator with the United States during the TTIP negotiations that our NHS would be protected.

The Prime Minister insisted it was impossible to say what would be included in any deal before the United States set out its own demands
The Prime Minister insisted it was impossible to say what would be included in any deal before the United States set out its own demands

The spokesman added: "We can't accept any arrangement that would allow American corporations or any other country's corporate sector to cherry-pick parts of the NHS or our public services".

Mrs May's hesitation is in stark contrast to the British position in recent US-EU trade talks - known as TTIP - in which the Government demanded exclusion for the NHS.

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 USA and the United Kingdom already, even before the possibility of any free trade agreement".

One user pointed out that if the PM had no intention of selling off the NHS to its U.S. ally, she would have taken the opportunity to say so right on the spot.

Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas warned of a "profound" threat to the health service. He wrongly claimed that a pro-NHS march on 3 February was a protest against Britain's failing health service.

At a later briefing, Mrs May's spokesman said: 'I would point you to the answer the Prime Minister gave at PMQs on February 1, 2017, in which she was asked would she rule out opening the NHS to private USA health care companies.

The proportion of health service contracts being won by non-NHS firms ballooned to nearly 70% past year, says The Independent. "That's not something you just forget", insisted Ashworth. "Clearly the British public can't trust our public health service with a flip-flopping Prime Minister and a party that has spent nearly eight years running down our health service".

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