The UK government has agreed to sign-up to a Labour-led move that will exclude the NHS from the EU-US TTIP deal that is currently under discussion. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a big critic of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and his backbenchers have led the call for an amendment to protect the NHS to be enshrined in law.
More than 25 Tory MPs are said to have signed the amendment amid the prospect of an embarrassing defeat in the Commons. Downing Street has agreed to the measures. Cameron's rebels were said to have been willing to join forces with Labour and the SNP to make an amendment to the Queen's Speech to safeguard the NHS.
The secretive TTIP agreement between the EU and the US is essentially a deal which aims to cut business tariffs and regulatory barriers between the US and EU countries. This will potentially make it easier for businesses to access either side of each other's markets.
Proponents argue that the increased free trade will promote multilateral economic growth but concerns have been raised about the pact's secrecy and that it will make it difficult for national governments to regulate their own markets.
Critics in the UK are concerned that the deal could potentially impact the NHS by allowing private firms running health services to sue the British government if they chose to return the services to the public sector.
A Number 10 spokesman told the BBC that they would accept the amendment: "As we've said all along, there is no threat to the NHS from TTIP. So if this amendment is selected, we'll accept it."
A Commons defeat would be particularly embarrassing as an amendment to the Queen's Speech, which is written by the Prime Minister and sets out the government's legislative programme for the year ahead, has not been challenged successfully since 1924.
But former Labour minister Rachel Reeves said EU officials have said that health services in its member states will not be affected by the TTIP deal. Writing on the Labour List website, she said: "Those who want Britain to leave the EU need to stop preying on British peoples' love for the NHS by cynically pretending that TTIP poses a threat. It does not.
"They are demeaning their own campaign by arguing a case they know to be untrue. What it will do is open up the American market to British companies, creating opportunities for business that will boost jobs and growth here at home."
But Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said she would vote for the amendment: "The Tory government is a major driving force for TTIP — and David Cameron is one of the deal's top cheerleaders," she said. "If we left the EU, then we could be left with the government negotiating trade deals with the rest of the world. What then?
"With the Tories still in charge, we could then expect the roll out of multiple TTIPs on steroids as Britain negotiated trade deals with countries across the world. That doesn't sound like safety for our NHS to me."