Trade and the NHS

The Government has made it clear that the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade agreements. Rigorous protections will be included for the NHS in all trade agreements to which the UK is party, in order to ensure these deals do not undermine the NHS.


I will never support a trade deal that undermines the NHS. Under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, Parliament can resolve against ratifying a trade deal if it is unwilling to support it. Moreover, MPs can refuse to pass any legislation necessary to implement a trade deal. These provisions ensure that, if any future government were to put the NHS on the table in a trade agreement, I and like-minded MPs would be able to block it.


The Trade Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, is a continuity bill that enables the continuation of free trade agreements that the EU had signed with third countries before Brexit. The NHS is already protected by specific carve outs, exceptions and reservations in these trade agreements, and the Bill requires these continuity agreements to be consistent with maintaining UK publicly funded clinical healthcare services. The Trade Bill cannot be used to implement new free trade agreements with countries like the USA or Australia.