Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart was among 340 MPs – 339 of whom were Conservative – who voted against protecting the NHS in post-Brexit trade negotiations. 

The ‘clause 17’ amendment to the Trade Bill, proposed by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and supported by Labour, demanded legal protection for the NHS in any future trade deals ensuring the UK retains control over the pricing of medicines and that the NHS remains ‘a comprehensive and publicly funded health service, free at the point of delivery’. The amendment also sought to bar any future deal which compromised the quality of health and care services as well as protect NHS staff wages. The amendment was defeated by 340 to 251 on Monday 20th July. Ms Hart also voted against amendments demanding legal protection for food standards and the environment, as well as one giving parliament the right to ratify any future deals negotiated.

A petition calling on the House of Lords to amend the Trade Bill to protect the NHS gained over 40,000 signatures in a day. Without cast-iron protection, campaigners fear it will pave the way for further privatisation, leaving it vulnerable to overseas asset strippers and venture capitalists.

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