The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has blasted the "numskulls" who oppose the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and US, saying that the "pact is a massive potential win for humanity".
Writing in his weekly column for the Telegraph, Johnson dismissed out of hand any environmental, social or legal concerns the public have over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), saying that "almost every single objection to the current proposals is based on pure superstition".
Protesters, he claimed "are talking rubbish". A successful agreement, according to Johnson, "will certainly not mean the privatisation of the NHS, and nor will it mean a green light for fracking Sussex".
TTIP has been under discussion since 2013, but has hit serious hurdles, with negotiators struggling to agree on numerous policy areas and opposition mounting among both the general public and European politicians.
Johnson, however, finds "absolutely nothing not to like about the TTIP". He cites figures (which, as IBTimes UK reported earlier this year, have been hotly contested), which predict an additional £10bn being added to the UK economy, with the EU reaping dividend of some £100bn if the agreement is sealed within 12 months.
Opponents of the agreement have slammed its lack of transparency. The EU has published a series of documents on its website summarising discussions, but critics say they are being negotiated behind closed doors.
The Labour MP for Swansea West Geraint Davies told IBTimes UK last week: "We need to make sure we're not railroaded by these behind the scenes deals that undermine the position of governments in the future, so you've to deliver democracy in terms of protecting consumer and worker rights. The bounds between private and nationalised industry could be fundamentally distorted by TTIP."
Johnson dismissed such remarks as "absurdly hostile and misinformed", writing that "the debate is dominated by Left-wing misery-guts anti-globalisation campaigners".
Many are concerned that the EU market will be opened up to imports of genetically modified food from the US, where it is legally sold. Others express worry over the future of the National Health Service.
Public services, according to the European Commission, are not included in TTIP negotiations, however each individual member state is free to bilaterally negotiate their inclusion with the US.
A poll of the UK's 70 MEPs, conducted by the trade union Unite, found that the majority of those responding opposed the inclusion of the NHS in TTIP.
"The 70 MEPs were asked about their stance on the trade deal. Only two out of 19 Tory MEPs bothered to respond to questions about the inclusion of the NHS in the trade agreement, once again illustrating the party's failure to take people's concerns about the NHS seriously," the union said in a release.
Unite secretary general Len McCluskey said: "Political parties from across the political spectrum oppose the inclusion of the NHS in this trade deal. The Tories and the Liberal Democrats are isolated and on the wrong side of public opinion. They believe that allowing US corporations to override Britain's sovereignty over the NHS is more important than the concerns of the British people."