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Oct 21st, 2014

TTIP: 38 Degrees members meet Seb Dance MEP

By India Thorogood

Last Friday, 38 Degrees members attended a meeting with Seb Dance MEP, organised by the World Development Movement. It was a chance for those of us living in London to meet one of our representatives in Europe, and grill him on TTIP. TTIP is the dodgy EU-US trade deal that could allow corporations to sue governments, and could permanently privatise our public services.

WDM had written to lots of MEPs asking for meetings on this issue, but many had not replied. They don’t often get members of the public contacting them, unlike MPs – so it can be all too easy for them to shy away.

Seb agreed that not enough has been done to open the discussion to the public. He added that MEPs should also know more – even they’d found out through a leaked document! He praised campaigners too – saying that this is the first instance where civil society has engaged in a trade deal to this extent. Great work 38 Degrees members!

Everyone in the room spoke very passionately against TTIP – about the huge threat to our NHS and the worry of a power grab by corporations. It was great to see such appetite for discussion, and I’m sure Seb really felt the pressure from his constituents.

Most of us were confused about Labour’s position on TTIP and wanted to find out where they stood. One 38 Degrees member had written to Harriet Harman about TTIP – and had been told the trade deal was a positive thing for our economy. Seb clarified that the Labour Party were against the inclusion of the NHS in any deal, and they didn’t want ISDS in the deal either. That’s great news. But we pushed him as to why Labour wouldn’t vote against the deal as a whole.

There’s still lots of work to be done to pressure all political parties in Europe to make the right call when TTIP finally reaches them for a vote. Would you like to organise a meeting with one of your MEPs to help build momentum? Have you organised one already and would like to invite 38 Degrees members along? Brilliant! Send me an email: india.t@38degrees.org.uk.

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