The European Scrutiny Committee has requested the views of all Select Committees on the EU-UK future relationship negotiating mandate laid out by the European Union. Jeremy Hunt, representing the Health and Social Care (HSC) Select Committee, has written to give its views.
In his letter Mr Hunt emphasises the importance of the EU-UK agreement as being the first trade deal the UK will make as an independent nation. He makes plain that setting health as a regulatory “floor” would set up all future negotiations to be built on this most important of issues:
“The general omission is of health as a regulatory ‘floor’ in these discussions. While we would not expect the EU to seek to lower health standards, this agreement will be the first substantive free trade agreement that the UK will strike since Brexit, and it will be the reference point for all that follow. There is substantial public concern around the NHS and health more generally in relation to our trade agreements. We propose that the UK should seek to make a shared commitment to protecting health and national health systems part of these negotiations, in order to defuse tensions on this issue for the future.”
Several other concerns are raised in Mr Hunt’s letter. However, the Chair of the HSC Committee does point out that health is mentioned in the EU mandate, and is therefore in the minds of the EU negotiating team.
Read the full letter here.