Ritchie wants Cameron to protect NI Health service

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has asked for the Prime Minister to clarify his position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement and provide robust assurances on the position of the health service. Speaking from Westminster Ritchie stated, “David Cameron needs to clarify exactly what tangible safeguards the UK government is asking for to ensure that the National Health Service and the Health Service in Northern Ireland will be protected under the TTIP agreement. “We cannot tolerate a situation where our health service is left vulnerable to excessive risk and unlimited claims through the investor state dispute settlement mechanism. “In response to my question the Prime Minister gave a breezy and arrogant dismissal of the very valid concerns raised by members of the public over the terms of the deal. “Perhaps he will find it harder to dismiss the position of the EU Commission which is considering omitting the controversial dispute settlement procedures from the deal. Incoming Commission President Juncker has made it clear that he would not accept excessive external limitations being placed on member states’ ability to settle their own industrial disputes. “Also, just this week, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade has clarified that his government will not proceed with TTIP while it still includes the dispute system. “Why then is the UK Government so dismissive of these risks? The Prime Minister’s blind assurances are without substance until he spells out precisely the protections that will be offered to the health service under the agreement. She added, “Perhaps then we can begin to have a more realistic discussion of the potential for this deal to provide jobs and commerce in Northern Ireland.”
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