Faced with becoming only the second British Prime Minister in a century to be defeated on his Queen’s Speech, David Cameron has avoided embarrassment by surrendering to the demands of eurosceptic Tory rebels over protecting the National Health Service (NHS) from the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal.
Rather than risk making political history by being the first Prime Minister to be defeated on his Queen’s Speech since Stanley Baldwin in 1924, David Cameron has been forced to accept an unwelcome amendment focused on the TTIP deal.
Fostering a parliamentary majority of just 17 seats and facing a potential rebellion from 25 Tory backbenchers, the government decided to accept the amendment in question which has also backed by Labour, Scottish Nationalist and Green Members of Parliament (MPs).
As Breitbart London previously reported, the amendment calls for the House of Commons to “respectfully regret that a Bill to protect the National Health Service from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership was not included in the Gracious Speech”.
A Downing Street spokesman explained: “As we’ve said all along, there is no threat to the NHS from TTIP. So if this amendment is selected, we’ll accept it.”
However, what accepting the amendment actually means in practice is not clear. As worded it does not actually force the Government to introduce any legislation protecting the NHS. The Independent reports that the Government could merely “regret” not including a TTIP Bill in the Queen’s Speech and then choose to do nothing about it.
Such a move would be seen as cynical manoeuvering, but the temporary embarrassment could be considered a price worth paying to deny the Tory rebels a victory. Whether those MPs would accept that is another question.
One of the Tory signatories on the amendment said that by accepting it the government has conceded that TTIP represents a threat to the NHS and that the only way to protect it is to vote Leave in June.