Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

UK prime minister says he would walk out on US trade talks if health care came up

Boris Johnson says Britain's health service is not for sale

UK prime minister Boris Johnson says Britain's health service is not for sale. AFP
UK prime minister Boris Johnson says Britain's health service is not for sale. AFP

The UK's prime minister said he would walk out of post-Brexit trade talks with the United States if Britain's health service was a precondition.

Britain's state-run National Health Service (NHS) has been a contentious issue in the UK election campaigns with the opposition Labour Party accusing the Conservatives of putting it up for sale.

On Friday prime minister Boris Johnson said: "First of all the NHS is not for sale. Under no circumstances will this government or any Conservative government do anything to put the NHS up for negotiation in trade talks or privatising anything like that.

"I can tell you were the United States, or any other country, to insist on that as condition of talks we would simply walk out."

His comments come days after the Labour Party revealed a 451-page dossier which showed talks were held between the Conservative government and the US.

Earlier Mr Johnson told ITV News he would "say goodbye" to President Trump if the White House asked for the NHS to be included in trade talks.

Mr Corbyn said the documents covered six rounds of talks from July 2017 to 2019 and covered meetings in Washington and London.

“We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit,” he said.

"Longer patents can only mean one thing: more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this."

The Conservatives claim the documents refer to meetings between the UK-US trade and investment working group.

Mr Johnson said on Friday that the group had negotiated about a dozen trade deals that are ready to run once Brexit happens.

Mr Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit by January 31st if his party win the election.

Updated: November 29, 2019 02:14 PM

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