It’s not often that I see eye-to-eye with my Labour colleagues in the European Parliament, but Jude Kirton-Darling MEP is right to say that there are huge dangers with the proposed EU-US trade deal known as TTIP. There is certainly a threat to our public services, and an Investor-State dispute mechanism which would give companies huge power to sue national governments. I’ve received thousands of emails, letters and phone calls on this subject from people who care about the issue. It’s a level of political engagement from local people that I’ve never seen before, and none of my UKIP colleagues have either.
I’m not interested in attending champagne receptions to be lobbied by big business. I am, however, interested in being lobbied by the constituents who elected me to work for them in the European Parliament. I was hugely disappointed that the President of the European Parliament used an arcane procedural rule to prevent the vote and debate on this issue from taking place, but expect it to come back in September. I assume that Jude will be re-submitting her amendment which opposed the investor-state dispute mechanism, and I will support that and other amendments with the same aim. Likewise, I hope that Jude will support the UKIP amendments aimed at specifically protecting the British NHS.
I must, however, point out that outside the EU we would be free to negotiate our own trade deals; not only could we get a deal that is tailor-made for the UK rather than a European fudge, but we could (like Switzerland) actually have more free trade deals than we do at present.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East