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The Independent
The Choice We Need
By Caroline Blakesley

Even in the midst of a Labour leadership campaign, I find myself increasingly watching the campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party. And I find myself growing more alarmed every day. Even though they both claim they will secure a deal, the truth in their rhetoric is clear: both William Croft and Harold Saxon want a no deal, no win Brexit. That is unacceptable.

The cost of no deal to our workers, our businesses, and our communities would be devastating. The risk to peace in Northern Ireland would be dangerous. The threat to the continued existence of our union would be existential. That is not what anyone voted for during the Brexit referendum. That is not what most Briton’s would vote for today. Yet that is what the two men running for the leadership of the Conservative Party are offering.

We need a new deal on Brexit. We need a better deal than what the Conservatives are offering. If I become Leader of the Opposition at the end of this leadership election, I will stand up to block a no deal Brexit and give this government one last opportunity to renegotiate their deal. My plan is straightforward:

1. On day one, I will convene a meeting of the leaders of all parties opposed to a no deal Brexit and those in the Conservative Party opposed to a no deal Brexit to create a cross-party commitment to blocking no deal.

2. In my first appearance in Parliament, I will table the European Union Bill 2019. This bill will:
  • Make a no-deal Brexit illegal.
  • Push the withdrawal deadline back by six months, to September 29, 2019 by forcing the Prime Minister request an extension from the European Union.
  • Give the Prime Minister three-months to negotiate their imaginary “better deal” and require that the text of that deal be presented to Parliament by June 29, 2019.
  • Require a People’s Vote – to be held no later than August 29, 2019.
3. Immediately after that bill is tabled, I will take control of the Commons agenda and bring this bill to an expedited debate and vote.

The time is not to end the debate over Brexit. It’s time to let the people whether the best Brexit that this Tory government can get is good enough for them. We need a People’s Vote on any bad deal that the Conservative Party puts before us. And we need to stop no-deal before it ever has the chance to start. I am proud to put Britain first in the fight against a Conservative Brexit that would see our nation torn apart, our security threatened, and our people impoverished.
Dispelling a Myth: 
Why the NHS really IS for sale in a post-Brexit Britain
By Sameen Axon MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary & MP for Derby South

Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you’ll have heard claims from the Conservative Party proclaiming that the NHS is definitely not for sale. I’m here today to dispute these claims and put the facts straight because from the evidence below, I can strongly affirm that the Government has every intention of selling off the NHS to the highest bidder.

This month, the Conservative Government led by Prime Minister William Croft has outlined their intentions in their quest to negotiate a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States of America. Don’t worry, this is a rather lengthy document so I don’t expect you to have read it all - that’s what politicians are for, right? One particular chapter of note for me is the one surrounding competition; Chapter 14. This chapter defines a ‘government monopoly’ as ‘...monopoly that is owned or controlled by a Party or by another government monopoly’ which in our case, would cover the National Health Service (NHS). What Chapter 14 Section 2 defines is that the relevant national competition laws should be applied to state-owned enterprises, including their commercial activities. Now, exemptions are listed under these definitions but there is no mention of the NHS anywhere in these exemptions which must lead us to some startling conclusions. 

What this effectively means for you and me is that any investments made to the NHS would have to be protected under this agreement. Protecting investments means making sure you make a profit out of the NHS, and decisions should be made in that vein. Is this what the goal of the NHS should be? When the Labour Party set up the NHS in 1950, we didn’t set it up to fill the pockets of foreign investors - we set it up to protect public health, and this is the biggest attack on this I can see since its foundation 69 years ago. 

Another dangerous point comes from chapter 14, section 9 paragraph 4 which states that:
“Each Party shall ensure that when its state-owned enterprises, state enterprises, and designated monopolies exercise any regulatory, administrative, or other governmental authority that the Party has directed or delegated to such an entity to carry out, such entity shall act in a manner that is not inconsistent with that Party’s obligations under this Agreement”. In this statement, the NHS would qualify as a ‘government entity’.

Put into simple terms, this means that if the United States does not like the way in which we are running the NHS, they have the power to say NO. Let that sink in. Brexiteers across the nation have been saying that Brexit is a way to claw back power from the European elite, allow Britain to be free again!! The European Union were never allowed to tell us how to run our NHS, why should the United States of America? 

The postscript of the FTA is the most dangerous intent from the Government yet. This states that ‘health services are an area where both sides would benefit from openness to foreign competition’. To put this simply, it is the intent of the Government to allow US providers to purchase areas of the NHS to benefit from ‘foreign competition’. It even states that these measures could be considered ‘extremely controversial’. Would you like the Government to be doing something which even its own Free-Trade Agreement says to be controversial with you and your loved ones’ health care? 

I think not; this is why the Labour Party will campaign and hold the Government to account on these issues and will never stop fighting to keep our NHS in Government hands. Prime Minister Croft, I hope you see this article and realise that you will become a threat to public health if you don’t take these matters seriously. 

To be clear, this is not the Labour Party saying that we should not enter into a free-trade deal with the United States. Clearly, the special relationship we have with the United States and the relative strength of our two economies would bring trade which has the potential to boost our economy, but if we do this we have to do it right and from the evidence supplied, the government are not off to a very good start. 

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