British PM Boris Johnson has branded accusations that he’s willing to put the National Health Service (NHS) on the table during post-Brexit trade talks with the US as the stuff of the “Loch Ness Monster” and “Bermuda Triangle.”
Johnson, who has started his general election campaign with a heavy focus on the NHS, visiting hospitals around the UK, insists that his government could strike free trade deals around the world but “the NHS is not for sale.”
During a visit to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire on Friday, he amusingly told reporters that the NHS is “not going to be on any kind of international trade negotiation. This is pure Loch Ness Monster, Bermuda Triangle stuff.”
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The NHS is seen as a much-cherished institution in the UK and so any talk of it being under threat from foreign corporations will cause a lot of unease among the British public.
It comes after ‘Dispatches,’ a Channel 4 investigations program, uncovered that secret meetings have already taken place between UK civil servants and representatives of US pharmaceutical firms. They claim discussions have included the cost of drugs that the NHS would have to buy from US companies.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has begun his election campaign promising to safeguard the NHS from the likes of Donald Trump, seizing on the investigation’s findings.
Corbyn has taken to Twitter to post a Sky News interview with a former UK trade chief who suggests the US will seek to remove a cap on the price that the NHS will have to pay for drugs from US pharmaceuticals.
In under one minute, this former UK trade chief explains why NHS costs will soar with a Johnson-Trump trade deal.
Let’s say it loud and clear: our NHS is not for sale. pic.twitter.com/3LvYtjp51H
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 6, 2019
Earlier, footage emerged of Johnson making a number of flagrantly contradictory remarks on what his Brexit deal means for Northern Ireland in a rather rambling address to Conservative activists.
One such claim made by Johnson was that his Brexit agreement with Brussels would mean no “checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.”
However, Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall pointed out on Twitter that the PM’s own government papers reveal the “precise opposite” with checks on goods having to take place in both directions.
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