A global agreement about fighting future pandemics is “a profound threat to our parliamentary sovereignty”, an MP and former Downing Street adviser is warning. Proposals include forcing every country to spend at least five percent of health budgets on preparing for another Covid-style outbreak, costing the UK £9 billion-a-year.
Conservative Danny Kruger, who served as Political Secretary to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is urging the Government to renegotiate the planned legislation.
He is expected to set out his concerns in a House of Commons debate.
World leaders are working on a treaty which is due to be finalised by May next year, with talks overseen by the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO).
A draft text has already been published and it requires every country that signs the accord to allocate “not lower than 5 percent of its current health expenditure to pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and health systems recovery,” which in the case of the UK would mean £9 billion.
It would also require signatories to set up global supply chains for equipment and medicine to fight future pandemics and to draw up plans to educate the public about pandemics and their effects.
But Mr Kruger is expected to tell MPs: “I would regard a binding legal obligation of this magnitude as an unacceptable fetter on the UK’s right to determine its own national health and economic policy.”
He will also highlight plans to make World Health Organisation recommendations legally binding, which critics say would give the WHO the power to impose measures including lockdowns.
Mr Kruger will tell colleagues it is “not alarmist to acknowledge the significance of the surrender of sovereignty, autonomy and individual rights and freedoms” that this involves.
Talks about the treaty began after 24 world leaders including former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed in March 2021 that “nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response”.
The Department of Health says that the UK is working constructively with other countries to secure a comprehensive legally binding agreement to strengthen pandemic preparedness, prevention and response.
The treaty would become binding on the UK if and when it is approved by Parliament.
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