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Jeremy Corbyn promises to kill TTIP, will work in parliament to stop trade deal

The hugely controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has been hailed as incredibly important by leaders including Obama – but politicians across Europe are quietly suggesting that it may be derailed

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 02 June 2016 09:32 BST
Jeremy Corbyn vows to veto TTIP

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to kill the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), doing further damage to the controversial deal.

Mr Corbyn has pledged to scrap the EU’s trade deal with the US. He joins a range of European politicians and campaigners in fighting against the partnership, which attempts to harmonise regulation between the two regions but also appears to weaken consumer protections and privilege companies.

The Labour leader has promised to stop the adoption of the deal if he is elected prime minister before it is completed. And he will also attempt to lead a rebellion in parliament, alongside dissident Tories and the Scottish nationalists.

What is TTIP?

Supporters of the deal argue that it is a necessary way of bringing US and EU regulations into line to allow companies to trade more easily. But while talks on the deal have remained secret, campaigners have argued that the deal will pose a huge threat to the NHS, privacy, the environment and other issues.

Since then, documents have shown that huge divisions exist between the various sides the are negotiating the deal. After that, politicians in France and Germany suggested that the deal would be killed if it remained in its current state, apparently signalling that the country may use its veto to oppose it.

"Many thousands of people have written to me, with their concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP) the deal being negotiated, largely in secret, between the US and the EU," he said during a speech as part of the Remain campaign. "Many people are concerned rightly, that it could open up public services to further privatisation – and make privatisation effectively irreversible. Others are concerned about any potential watering down of consumer rights, food safety standards, rights at work or environmental protections and the facility for corporations to sue national governments if regulations impinged on their profits."

Mr Corbyn's intervention comes just a day after the European Commission attempted to revive support for TTIP. President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for all 28 member states to publicly affirm their commitment to the deal, apparently frustrated by weakening support for the plan.

Mr Corbyn made reference to that increasing division by arguing that the French's discontent means the British shouldn't support it either.

"A few weeks ago the French President, Francois Hollande, said he would veto the deal as it stands and to become law any deal would have to be ratified by each member state," he said. "So today we give this pledge, as it stands, we too would reject TTIP – and veto it in Government."

"And there is a challenge to the Prime Minister, if it’s not good enough for France; it’s not good enough for Britain either."

He asked that David Cameron "make clear" that if Britain votes for remain he would "block any TTIP trade treaty that threatens our public services, our consumer and employment rights and that hands over power to giant corporations to override democratically elected governments".

It has since become a central part of the debate around the EU referendum. Remain supporters have argued that the trade deal is a central reason for staying in the EU, while the Leave side has argued that it shows the danger of such huge partnerships.

Mr Corbyn's commitment may prove controversial among some of his fellow campaigners on the Remain side. Barack Obama's intervention to tell the UK that it would be at the "back of the queue" for a trade deal has proved one of the more popular campaign points of the referendum, and campaigners have positioned the trade deal as a demonstration of one of the important reasons for staying in.

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