We are asking that our MP’s in the region, from whichever Party, support John McDonnell’s call for openness and transparency regarding TTIP. This is a live a pressing issue. They need to tell us what they think and not wait for the “Party line”.
John McDonnell I have tabled two amendments concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Several hon. Members have campaigned doggedly for openness and transparency regarding the negotiations on that proposed partnership between the EU and the US. I accept that it would be out of order for me to go into any detail about that, but the principle is this. For two days in the Chamber, we have debated sovereignty and democratic rights in relation to Scotland and the EU. TTIP may result in Parliament handing over sovereignty and democratic decision making not only to the EU but to transnational corporations and an investor dispute panel of corporate lawyers, meeting in secret. Their decisions could affect regulations governing health and safety, food safety, labour rights and even our recent attempts to achieve some sort of regulation of our finance sector, but we have not had any debate that resulted in a democratic decision of the House. We have had Adjournment debate after Adjournment debate, but there has been no report from Government on the progress of the negotiations. Why? Because the negotiations are held in secret. There was a debate in the European Parliament only last week. When a report was eventually produced, 200 amendments were tabled, and the EU Commission has backed off and delayed the matter.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) (Lab): My hon. Friend is making an excellent speech and bringing TTIP into the argument. Does he agree that if the EU is seen as a vehicle for imposing TTIP on us, that would have a significant bearing on the outcome of the vote? Millions of trade unionists will be fearful of voting in favour of the EU because they may get TTIP with it
John McDonnell: I thank my hon. Friend for bringing me back into order. That is exactly my point. If we are to have any chance to shape the Prime Minister’s negotiations with other European leaders, this is our opportunity. I want to place on the agenda what is happening with TTIP. I want the Prime Minister to address that in his discussions, and when he reports back to the House and the country about the way forward, I want him to detail the achievements he has made, to open up the transparency and openness of those negotiations. The major issue with TTIP is that the Prime Minister, until now, has not seen it as particularly relevant or important to give us a direct report on those negotiations, so those negotiations have remained secret.