Unite poll shows 82% of Prime Minister’s constituents oppose controversial trade deal

Tim Lezard
SAVE OUR NHS march at Conservative Party Conference 2013  TUC Manchester march for the NHS. Photo byTUC

SAVE OUR NHS march at Conservative Party Conference 2013
TUC Manchester march for the NHS. Photo byTUC

An exclusive poll conducted by Survation for Unite, in Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency Witney and health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s West Surrey constituency, reveals massive opposition to the EU-US trade deal that spells the irreversible sell-off of the NHS.

A significant majority of voters in Witney and West Surrey, 82 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, oppose the inclusion of the NHS in the EU-US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

73 per cent of those polled in Witney and 70 per cent of those polled in Surrey West want David Cameron to use his veto in Europe to prevent the NHS falling into the scope of this agreement.

The poll of 2000 people across both constituencies also reveals that local NHS services are by far the most important issue for voters.

The poll was conducted between 6 and 12 November.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Even in these Conservative constituencies there is massive opposition to the NHS being part of the US trade deal. David Cameron’s and Jeremy Hunt’s constituents expect them to act and veto the NHS from TTIP.

“The NHS unites this country, it the single most important local issue for voters. The Prime Minister has cut himself adrift from public opinion by refusing to listen to the public. They are demanding that he veto the NHS out of TTIP. Unite has polled 17 Tory seats and in every case voters oppose the NHS being part of TTIP.

“David Cameron has claimed that there is ‘no threat’ to the NHS from TTIP. If this is true, why doesn’t Cameron just remove the NHS from the trade deal? Other countries have vetoed sectors from the trade deal. The Government has failed to give one decent reason why the NHS should be in this trade deal.

“Britain won’t be fooled by vague assurances over the NHS, the people of this country do not believe it’s right for the NHS to be part of an American trade deal.”

The deal, known as TTIP, is being negotiated behind closed doors, between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States.

It is the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated and threatens to make privatisation of the NHS irreversible by giving the profits of corporations precedence over national lawmakers. TTIP could grant American multinationals, or any firm with American investors, the power to sue the government if it ever attempted to take privatised health services back into public ownership.

An earlier extensive telephone poll, carried out by Survation in August this year, questioned over 2,600 voters across 13 marginal Conservative-held seats. Respondents were asked if the NHS should be excluded from the deal and if David Cameron should use Britain’s veto. Across all constituencies, of those that stated a view – 68 per cent said they opposed the inclusion of the NHS as part of the deal. Opposition was highest from those planning on voting for Labour or UKIP, 78 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. Just 23 per cent of Conservative voters supported inclusion.

Unite also polled voters in Stockton South and Rochester & Strood in both cases voter opposed the NHS in TTIP and expected Cameron to be prepared to use his veto.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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