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I'm disappointed that my Private Members Bill aiming to protect the NHS future trade deals has once again been delayed in the House of Commons.

Due to increased restrictions related to Covid-19 the UK Government has indefinitely suspended the debating of any Private Members Bills at Westminster, meaning that the second reading of the Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill due to take place on 15th January was postponed.

While the decision to suspend Friday sittings is undoubtedly the right one due to the ongoing pandemic, I am extremely disappointed that again my Bill has been delayed.

The Tories have proved they can’t be trusted with our NHS which is why my Bill, which delivers on a key SNP manifesto promise from 2019, is so important. My NHS Protection Bill aims to prevent the UK Government from using our vital NHS as a bargaining chip in any future trade deals – ensuring it remains publicly owned, publicly operated, and its services publicly commissioned.

The Bill also sets out that the explicit consent of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Parliaments and Assemblies would be required on any trade deals.

If Boris Johnson had any commitment to safeguarding the NHS and respecting the devolution settlement he would already have enshrined these protections in law, and this Bill wouldn’t be needed. Sadly he has not, so I am determined that my Bill will see its day in Parliament if at all possible.

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