The SNP leader Angus Robertson is allowed two questions at PMQs every week, and he asks them with surgical precision.
Political Scrapbook doesn’t hold a candle for the SNP but credit where credit is due.
Robertson started by asking the Prime Minister what she planned to discuss with Donald Trump when she meets him later this week.
May waffled in broad generalities about “the special relationship” of course. But Robertson was merely laying the ground for the real point.
Then he asked:
The European Union, which we are still part of, has among the highest food safety standards anywhere in the world, and we are proud on our continent in having public national health systems.
The United States on the other hand, is keen to have health systems that are fully open to private competition. They want to export genetically modified organisms, beef raised with growth-harmones, and chicken meat washed with chlorinated water.
Will the Prime Minister tell President Trump that she is not prepared to lower our food and safety standards, or to open our health systems to privatisation, or does she believe this is a price worth paying for a UK-US trade deal.
This is an important question because May is indeed eager (almost desperate, some would say) for a quick trade deal with the US after Brexit to signal success.
But that opens the UK up to more NHS privatisation and our food industry to US companies that have lower health standards.
Theresa May knew what the implications were, and hence just gave a vague, short answer:
We will be looking for a UK-US trade deal that improves trade between our two countries, that will bring prosperity and growth to this country, that will ensure we can bring jobs to this country as well, and I can ensure the Right Honourable Gentleman as well, that in doing that, we will put UK interests and UK values first.
In other words, she refused to give an guarantees at all.
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) January 25, 2017
Not many realise the implications of what he was asking but keep an eye on this issue