News | Published November 27 2019

NHS "at risk" in future US trade deal, claims Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claims to have evidence that the NHS would be on the table in a trade deal with the US after Brexit.

Speaking at a press conference in London, Corbyn produced a dossier of some 451 pages which allegedly prove that talks had taken place between the government and the US on NHS access and other issues such as pharmaceutical prices.

Corbyn said that the talks could open the door for “runaway privatisation” and leave the NHS having to pay higher prices for medicines.

The uncensored document contains details of negotiations which took place in Washington and London between July 2017 and July 2019 as a precursor for formal trade talks. The documents show US interest in discussing the prices of drugs, mainly through the extension of patents that would prevent cheaper generic medicines being used in future.

The document does acknowledge that the UK would have some objections to some of the proposed discussion points.

Corbyn claims that the documents show talks being at an “advanced stage” and that they discredit prime minister Boris Johnson’s claim that the NHS will be off the table in future trade talks.

He said: "The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson's denials in absolute tatters. We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale.

"He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.”

The Conservatives have long denied that the NHS could be included in a future trade deal and the party's manifesto released over the weekend reiterates this.

The prime minister has labelled Corbyn's latest claims a “total nonsense”, adding that he can provide an “absolute cast iron guarantee” that the NHS is not up for sale.

Johnson said: “This is continually brought up by the Labour party as a diversionary tactic from the difficulties they are encountering.”

International development secretary Liz Truss simply dismissed the claims as a stunt.

She said: "Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out and out lying about what the documents contain. People should not believe what he says.”

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
November 27 2019

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