Jeremy Corbyn has produced a 451-page un-redacted government document that he claims confirms the NHS is on the table in trade talks with the US.
The Labour leader gave a speech on the NHS in Westminster, where he accused the Conservatives of ‘selling-out’ the NHS for a deal with Donald Trump.
He told the audience: ‘Labour will never use the NHS as a bargaining chip in trade talks with anybody’.
Up until now, the government has only published heavily redacted documents on its post-Brexit trade talks.
Boris Johnson has denied ever raising the sale of Britain’s National Health Service in such talks.
The Labour leader said the uncensored papers his party had obtained – called UK-US Trade Working Group – ‘leaves Boris Johnson’s denials in tatters’.
He told the news conference: ‘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 451 pages of documents cover six rounds of talks from July 2017 to ‘just a few months ago’, Mr Corbyn said.
It is understood the meetings took place in Washington and London.
Mr Corbyn said: ‘We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit.’
On medicine pricing, he said discussions had already been concluded between the two sides on lengthening patents.
‘Longer patents can only mean one thing – more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,’ he said.
Just an hour before Mr Corbyn took to the stage, the PM tweeted to say the NHS ‘will not be on the table’ for future trade negotiations.
And responding to the leak, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss accused Labour of ‘out-and-out lying’ in saying the NHS was for sale.
She said the NHS was only mentioned four times in the documents – which she said have been online for months – and the NHS, drugs and pharmaceuticals were not mentioned at all in the most recent discussions between UK and US officials.
Ms Truss said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain. He has always believed in conspiracy theories – which is why he has failed to crack down on the scourge of anti-Semitism in his party.
‘This is the man that has caused huge offence by blaming an imaginary ‘Zionist lobby’ for society’s ills and now he has decided to smear UK officials too.
‘People should not believe a word that he says – this stunt is simply a smokescreen for the fact that he has no plan for Brexit and that he has been forced to admit that he wants to increase taxes for millions of families.
‘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.’
During a question and answer session following the press conference, the Labour leader was grilled for refusing to apologise for his party’s handling of anti-Semitism during a ‘car crash’ interview with the BBC.
Mr Corbyn said: ‘I have made very clear antisemitism is completely wrong in our society and our party did make it clear when I was elected leader and after that, that antisemitism is unacceptable in any form in our party or our society and did indeed offer its sympathies and apologies to those who had suffered.’
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