My Intervention on the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response: International Agreement

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):
To colleagues who like this treaty, is the easy answer not that we will, of course, remain members of the WHO, read its advice and accept that advice where we wish? Why should we have to accept advice when the WHO may get it wrong, and we can do nothing about it because it decides, not us?

Danny Kruger (Devizes) (Con):
That is absolutely right. We have the opportunity to say no, and it is an opportunity we need to take. Once we have said yes, we are then under the obligation to introduce, potentially, terrible infringements on liberty. I will make some more progress and then let Members intervene.


  1. Bryan Harris
    April 18, 2023

    Well said — There is NO justification for this treaty

    1. Wanderer
      April 19, 2023

      +1. WHO would have the right to tell us to spend our money on their Pandemic preparedness plans, including buying so-called vaccines from the big Pharma interests that, along with the Chinese, “own” the WHO.

  2. Peter
    April 18, 2023

    We should not be tied to WHO advice. A nation state is capable of making its own decisions.

    I am not sure what Freddy Kruger’s role is, or why politicians need to wait on his pronouncements.

    1. Bloke
      April 19, 2023

      Lord Baden-Powell created the Scout motto: Be Prepared!
      He led a movement toward better, and we should be.
      It is we who are active, looking after ourselves going ahead.
      The WHO are merely WHOM we see behind attempting to control us as their object.

  3. Iain Hunter
    April 18, 2023

    Thank you, John and Danny Kruger. The UK must NOT sign this treaty. Also, remember the real fascism is contained in the International Health Regulations (IHR) they are proposing.

  4. a-tracy
    April 18, 2023

    We have heard all sorts of conservatives telling us that Northern Ireland wasn’t being sold out to the EU. Yet… it was.

  5. Peter
    April 18, 2023

    Yes absolutely right. A nation state should not be completely beholden to the diktats of an outside organisation like the WHO.

    I do not know what Freddy Kruger’s role is, or why our politicians need to wait on further updates from him.

  6. Mickey Taking
    April 18, 2023

    Another demonstration that this government finds it so easy to just assign responsibility to bodies outside UK.

  7. Peter Gardner
    April 18, 2023

    The UK is already bound by International Health Regulations. Apparently the UK has already agreed that the agreement on pandemics should be legally binding. It should be obvious that the UK, and all other countries would gain from early notification of an outbreak and thus there should be an obligation on countries to report outbreaks. If that already exists in the IHR, why is a new agreement necessary? If it exists what penalties are there for non-compliance, eg., China and its Wuhan lab?
    Is there to be international monitoring of safety standards at such facilities? If so how would that relate to existing bans on chemical and biological weapons research to develop weapons or in UK for example research intended to prepare antidotes?
    One of the advantages Australia had in the case of SARS-CoV-2 is that on its own initiative it worked with countries in the region to learn the lessons of earlier pandemics and prepare plans for the next. All the countries participating benefitted from that. That enabled a very fast and effective response. Several African countries similarly learned from the Ebola outbreak and so were well prepared for SARS-CoV-2. That was absent in the UK. That brings us to the manifest failings of the NHS? exercise Cygnus revealed some weaknesses but was not an adequate test as it was based on a known type of virus. Also it was not acted on before the pandemic. Has it been since? The UK performed poorly and much work is required to improve its preparedness for the next
    The next area of facilitation to the advantage of all countries is research into the organism to ascertain its effects, behaviour, etc and to develop an anti-dote. That requires international co-operation. Is there any evidence of countries other than China not co-operating? What to do about China or others similarly unco-operative or secretive?
    Countries need to be able to protect themselves from the effects of failures by others. Is there anything in international law or existing treaties inhibiting them from doing so? If so this needs to be corrected. Then there are questions of compensation, monitoring, enforcement.
    It is the responsibility of the government to ensure preparedness and to learn from experiences elsewhere and to co-operate in facilitating of all to respond by sharing information. If existing treaties, and agreements can be improved to those ends, let’s do it but resist a attempts at overreach into compulsion to implement measures within UK. It is encouraging that the process for this treaty is set up to respect national sovereignty. Make sure it does.

  8. Peter Gardner
    April 18, 2023

    PS. The uk’s own enquiry into the pandemic may well reveal areas where international co-operation can help. Is there a mechanism to coordinate such findings with uk’s work on this new WHO treaty?

  9. forthurst
    April 18, 2023

    Lifting up the skirts of international bodies can reveal indecent manipulations by individuals and organisations driven by misguided beliefs or self-serving opportunism. Sovereignty means the right to choose; subordinancy means the obligation to obey.

  10. Peter Gardner
    April 19, 2023

    After the UK’s dismal performance I should have thought there is much to be learned so as to do better next time. The UK’s enquiry should be co-ordinated with work on this proposed WHO treaty.
    One great advantage Australia and countries in its region had was working together to learn from MERS and SARS to prepare for the next one. As a result they were well prepared and knew what to do when SARS-CoV-2 struck. Some African countries similarly acted on lessons from Ebola. They all were much better prepared than the UK.
    An effective early response depends on prompt notification of an outbreak and then sharing of information on the organism’s effects, characteristics, behaviour, DNA etc in order to work out countermeasures including NPIs, vaccines, remediation, cures. UK is already subject to WHO’s legally binding International Health Regulations (IHR). Changes that will better facilitate preparations should be welcomed. Surely the UK’s own ednquiry into the pandemic will show precisely where UK could gain from such facilitation. If the WHO treaty provides this, that should be welcomed.
    The WHO has set up the process to negotiate the treaty with the intention of respecting national sovereignty. So it is important that, if necessary, international law and agreements should be strengthened to enable them to protect themselves against the failings of other countries. China comes to mind in relation to SARS-CoV-2. But even if the law is strengthened would China, North Korea, Russia and similarly secretive countries take any notice?
    There is debate about whether the Wuhan lab leak was an accident or deliberate. Assuming it was an accident, are there not already safeguards and standards in IHR? Is there not already a requirement for international monitoring on similar lines to the monitoring of chemical, biological and nuclear research and development? If not then perhaps there needs to be. If the UK ‘s own safeguards are considered satisfactory then surely it would wish to see similar regulations brought into other countries? But there is a danger of overreach to enhance such standards beyond what is sufficient fo rthe risks. So there needs to be mutual recognition commensurate with the risks in each country, not one-size-fits-all common standards as the EU would impose.
    As for the UK’s preparedness that is and must remain the UK Government’s responsibility. It was very apparent that much of the debate iin the UK was whether SARS-CoV-2 was a matter of public health at all. Many anti-lockdowners argued it was a personal decision. If that view prevails then many will argue for imposition by extra-national agreement. Individuals should have the right to go about their lives without fear of being negligently or deliberately infected by others with a dangerous disease. That right needs to be established and recognised. Frankly, after reading many of the comments made in public and social media I would not trust others to make their own decisions about their risk to my health. It must be clear in law that a pandemic is a matter of public health and that takes priority over other rights. Sweden is often erroneously cited as an example where it was left up to individuals. That is a myth, Sweden has very strong laws on public health but the approach is nevertheless different from UK. For example the onus for protecting the health of individuals was placed largely on employers. It was not in the UK. Sweden already had laws permitting local lockdowns before the pandemic so additional powers were not sought to the extent they were needed in the UK.
    There are huge differences in culture that affect the behaviour of an infectious disease so it is paramount that NPIs within a state are the prerogative of the state. They should not be a one-size fits all international ruling. But agreements that faciltate co-operation, information sharing preparation and response are welcome and that would include mandating disclosure of risks and monitoring of dangerous biological research where not already adequately provided in IHR.

  11. Peter Gardner
    April 19, 2023

    Second comment. If the WHO treaty provides protection against the sort of action the EU took to prevent export of vaccines, although quickly reversed, that should be welcomed.
    More widely, there is merit in facilitating export and distribution of medicines and medical equipment to and within poorer countries that cannot afford to purchase them. At present there are various initiatives in being that need to be regularised: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global alliance that was founded by Norway, India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK-based Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum. Some of these have other motivations. It is better that they be brought into an international framework in which the UK has a a formal input and from which the UK can gain some benefit.

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  13. Donna
    April 19, 2023

    There is no justification for the WHO’s proposed power-grab. They are seeking nothing less than the power to decide the fate of billions, with no democratic oversight or mandate whatsoever.

    As we saw during the Covid Scamdemic, the country which did not follow the herd and the dodgy advice of the WHO, Sweden, had the best outcome. Sweden used OUR pandemic plan ….. the one Johnson ditched in favour of destroying the economy and wrecking millions of lives over a Low Consequence Infectious Disease with a mortality rate of 0.2%.

    The WHO is a (questionable Ed)organisation, …..paid for by people with vested interests and an Agenda. Under no circumstances should it be given the power to control OUR lives.

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