TWEEDDALE MP David Mundell has been accused of failing to protect the NHS from future trade negotiations with America.

In Westminster this week, Mr Mundell and his Conservative colleagues rejected New Clause 17 when considering the Trade Bill.

Opposition politicians had argued that the amendment would safeguard the health service from foreign control.

Borders MSP Christine Grahame said: “[Borders MP] John Lamont and David Mundell parrot Boris Johnson’s line that our NHS is safe from Donald Trump’s America but when they get the chance to protect the NHS in law, they queue up to block it.”

However, Mr Lamont and Mr Mundell have both defended their decisions, insisting that the NHS will not be "on the table” in trade deals with other countries.

The Trade Bill, which ultimately passed its third reading in the House of Commons on Monday (July 20), will form the framework for implementing trade deals following Brexit.

However, opposition MPs wanted to insert a specific clause to protect the NHS from being the subject of potential bids from US firms.

According to the terms of New Clause 17, a trade deal would be prohibited if it sought to undermine or restrict the UK’s ability “to provide a comprehensive publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery”.

The amendment also tried to protect the NHS from losing control over the price of medicine.

Following the vote, Ms Grahame told the Peeblesshire News: “It’s never been clearer that decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who live here – not an out-of-touch Tory Westminster government who are desperate to cosy up to Trump and carve up our NHS.”

South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse, also of the SNP, said: “We’ve seen time and again that at every opportunity the Conservative government and its members have had to fulfill their pledge that they will protect the NHS and food standards, they have rejected amendments left, right and centre.”

However, Mr Mundell - who represents Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale - argues that opposition parties have encouraged "misunderstanding" on the issue.

He said: "There appears to be a widespread misunderstanding about the significance of Monday's vote, partly politically-driven by opposition parties. 

"The Trade Bill, in effect, involves transferring appropriate parts of existing EU trade deals so they continue to benefit the UK after Brexit.

"It is, in fact, good housekeeping, which rightly is being scrutinised by Parliament, and which the government aims to complete in the national interest swiftly, effectively and efficiently.

"The UK Government has repeatedly made clear that the NHS will not be part of any future trade agreements and ministers stand by that commitment.

"In addition, in Scotland, the NHS is the responsibility of the Scottish Government who set their own policies and priorities."

Mr Lamont issued a similar response, claiming opposition parties have promoted "misinformation".

He said: “The narrative surrounding the Trade Bill since the vote earlier this week has been filled unfortunately with misinformation and a misunderstanding, driven by parties on the opposition benches.

“The vote was designed to transfer agreements that already existed and ensure the UK can continue to benefit from them as we leave the European Union.

“It absolutely did not have anything to with new trade deals where opposition MPs stoke fears about the USA and the NHS.

“The Prime Minister and other ministers could not be more clear, the NHS is not on the table in any trade deal and never will be. That is something I am fully committed to backing.

“The UK Government is also fully committed to maintaining the highest food standards in any future trade deal.

“For the local businesses in the Borders that trade around the world, this Trade Bill was essential to allow them to continue to do that.

“The SNP MPs who voted against this Trade Bill were voting against local jobs in the Borders.”

Mr Mundell and Mr Lamont also voted against New Clause 11, which was intended to protect the UK from low quality food imports.