A proposed deal between the United States and European Union is a “corporatist scam”, Ukip’s MP has said.
Douglas Carswell said that TTIP, which stands for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, was not what its proponents made it out to be.
“Ukip [is] making clear we are the most staunchly free trade party in the UK,” he tweeted. “TTIP is not free trade. It’s a corporatist scam.”
Tellingly, the message was retweeted by Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, a leading contender for his party’s nomination for Mayor of London.
TTIP’s proponents say it is a free trade deal that would benefit both the United States and European Union.
One controversial aspect of drafts of the deal would be to establish a quasi-judicial trade court to which the two blocs would be subject.
This could allow large corporations to ‘sue’ national governments for enacting any policy that potentially harmed their profits. Critics say that this would erode democracy and increase corporate power.
The deal is also controversial because of the secret way in which it is been negotiated, with press and campaigners relying heavily on leaks to determine its direction.
A Ukip spokesperson told the Independent that the party feared the destruction of public services by the deal.
“Ukip is a party that believes that free trade between people is the surest way to greater prosperity,” he said.
“However the TTIP agreement is not a free trade deal, but one that favours big multinational corporates over the interests of smaller businesses, and most importantly the democratic right of people to set policy through elections.
“TTIP as it currently stands could hand the NHS lock, stock, and barrel to huge corporations against the wishes of the British people.”
Labour said at the election that it supports TTIP in principle but that it would seek exemptions for the NHS and other public services to ensure they were not privatised under new rules.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have expressed strong support for TTIP. Both parties dispute that the NHS would be affected.
The Green Party also opposes TTIP.
In recent weeks Ukip has stepped up campaigning against the deal. Earlier this month the party’s MEPs staged a protest in the European Parliament over the deal that saw the chamber descend into chaos.
At the European Parliament level the deal tends to be opposed by parties from the Left and Right, while centre-left and centre-right parties tend to be more positive about it.
The European Commission currently has a centre-right aligned president.