We were due to vote on the Lange Report this week (the first time the SNP could vote on the report), but the vote was postponed at the last minute.
The Lange Report (Mr Lange being the MEP responsible for drafting the report) takes stock of the negotiations so far and sets out the expectations of the Parliament going forward. The report has now been referred back to the International Trade Committee for further scrutiny. I believe that this is a sign our pressure is paying off and that the member state governments thought they were going to take a bloody nose in the vote. The Parliament has refused to be a rubber stamp.
The position of the SNP MEPs was set by party members at our conference in Glasgow last March. We are not anti-trade, but neither are we in favour of trade at any price. The TTIP negotiations cover a number of issues that cause us extreme concern, and unless we see considerable improvement in the text then I do not see that we would have been able to support the package.
We are opposed to ISDS, also known as Corporate Courts. As a former lawyer myself, I find the idea that companies and investors need a specific set of rules outwith the general law to be flatly offensive, given we are talking about some of the most developed legal jurisdictions in the world.
Similarly, I remain concerned about many other aspects, and this postponement will give us time to push for more scrutiny. Unless I see specific exemptions for the provision of public services in Scotland then I will continue to oppose the package.
You can find background to the SNP position, details of my speech to conference in March, and the resolution here.
This will evolve fast, and is a live negotiation, but our SNP priorities are clear and we will oppose or support the eventual text on its merits.