I oppose the inclusion of public services in this trade deal and don't think that corporations should have the right to sue governments through the investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms (ISDS). I have serious reservations about this deal, as do other SNP MPs, and I will continue to press for the changes that the Scottish Government has called for and to oppose any agreement that has these terms in it.
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that she and the Scottish Government will fight any moves to privatise the NHS in Scotland through the back door. The most effective way for the UK Government to provide concrete assurance and put the issue beyond doubt is to provide an explicit legal exemption for the NHS on the face of the agreement. The Scottish Government has urged the UK Government to make sure that the NHS is clearly exempt from Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or to use its veto at the European Council to end TTIP.
ISDS and its private tribunals have no place in any deal. Such a regulatory framework could undermine workers' rights as well as environmental standards, public services contracts and food safety regulations. Unless we see the protections that the Scottish Government has called for being written into the agreement we can't be sure that our public services will be protected and I'll oppose TTIP.
The UK Government has promised to let MPs have a brief look at the TTIP text in a reading room in the House of Commons Library so long as we keep it secret from you. I don't think that's good enough – a deal this important to the future of our public services should be done in public, not behind closed doors. Instead of showing a few privileged MPs the detail the UK Government should be opening it up for everyone to scrutinise and that's what I'll be pushing for.