Warning: Tory Brexit legislation could be Trojan Horse for NHS privatisation

The SNP warn that the Internal Market Bill is a Tory 'power grab' to open NHS up to privatisation

The Tory Internal Market Bill is a ‘Trojan Horse’ which would lead to the kind of creeping privatisation of Scotland’s NHS and water seen in England, say the SNP.

Ahead of the second reading on Monday, Ian Blackford urged MPs to reject the bill, saying it would allow the government to overrule the Scottish Parliament in devolved areas. This could include allowing private health and water companies to trade unhindered in Scotland.

The SNP Westminster Leader pointed to the Tories’ willingness to break international law and the treaty they themselves signed as evidence they cannot be trusted.

This follows last Tuesday’s admission by Brandon Lewis in the House of Commons that the bill’s reinterpretation of the Brexit arrangement for Northern Ireland would break international law. The Northern Ireland Secretary argued that the bill only breaks the law ‘in very specific and limited way’.

On the month marking the 23d anniversary of the vote for a Scottish Parliament, the seventh poll in a row found majority support for independence. The Survation poll published last week found that 53% (+3) supported an independent Scotland.

Blackford said: “This Tory power grab is a Trojan Horse Bill, which could open Scotland’s NHS and water services up to the kind of creeping privatisation and deregulation that we are already seeing under the Tories in England.

“The whole thrust of Boris Johnson’s bill is to restrict devolved policy choices and impose Westminster decisions on Scotland. It includes a Trojan Horse clause to allow Tory ministers to encroach in the future even further on devolution against the will of the Scottish Parliament.

“This bill must be stopped in its tracks. The Tory government has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. It freely admits it is willing to break international law, impose an extreme Brexit, and destroy the foundations of Scotland’s devolution settlement.

“If Westminster won’t stop this unprecedented attack on devolution, it will demonstrate beyond all doubt that the only way to protect Scotland’s democratic powers, our NHS, and our place in Europe is to become an independent country.”

Sophia Dourou is a freelance journalist

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