Labour: Dossier indicates NHS up for sale in US trade deal
The U.K.s Labour Party has obtained unredacted documents detailing talks between the U.S. and U.K. that indicate the National Health Service is on the table in trade talks with Washington, party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Wednesday.
This charge comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during his first debate with Corbyn on November 19 that allegations of secret meetings to put the NHS under review in a U.S. trade deal were an “absolute invention.”
Speaking at a press conference, Corbyn said the 451 pages of documents reveal six rounds of negotiations from July 2017 until just a few months ago. Taken together, this amounts to “evidence” that under Boris Johnson, the NHS “is on the table and will be up for sale,” Corbyn added.
“The election is now a fight for our National Health Service,” declared Corbyn.
The NHS has been a key battleground ahead of the December 12 election, with a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary airing claims that there have been talks between the U.S. and U.K. trade officials on drug pricing.
Corbyn said the documents expose detail of these discussions, and that they refute the Conservative Partys denial that U.S. corporations want to force up medicine prices. Those negotiations have advanced even further, said Corbyn, with initial discussions on lengthening patents already completed.
Reading from the document, Corbyn said it noted: “Everything is included unless something is specifically excluded,” and that the U.S. wants “total market access as the baseline assumption.”
However, Trade Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement: “As we have consistently made clear: the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal and the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. This sort of conspiracy theory fuelled nonsense is not befitting of the leader of a major political party.”
In a tweet just prior to Corbyns announcement, Johnson wrote: “Our NHS will not be on the table for any trade negotiations. Were protecting and strengthening our NHS with more investment and an Australian style, points-based immigration system.”