The Labour Party has consistently claimed in its election campaign that a Boris Johnson’s government would seek to “sell” the NHS to Donald Trump in a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. But as the US President himself denied the claim at a press conference for the NATO summit on Tuesday, Labour’s Barry Gardiner backtracked on his party’s persistent claim and changed its campaign message in an interview with BBC Breakfast host Louise Minchin.
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The shadow international trade secretary said: “The NHS is not a building, it’s not something that you go ‘here you are, let’s negotiate a price for the NHS’.
“The way you undermine the NHS is by privatising the services and we’ve had twice as much privatisation over the past few years under the Conservatives.
“£9 billion extra of privatisation of services and what that means is that money is going out of the service into profit.
“And what we’re looking at if it were the extension of drug patterns is a potential loss to the service of £27 billion.
“So these are huge sums that really would rip the guts out of the NHS.
“And when you come to talk about data and the negotiations that go on in trade talks about data and data privacy and data security and the transfer of data and where it’s held, the Americans are really pushing very hard to get access to NHS data.”
The BBC host pointed out the change of tune and said: “Donald Trump said yesterday, and we have to accept that that’s the latest that he’s said on the NHS, he said that he wouldn’t have it even if it was on a ‘silver platter’.
“So why are you changing your line here? You said consistently in your campaign that the NHS is for sale.
“Is this a change?”
Yet in another conflicting statement, Mr Gardiner replied: “It’s not a change at all. The NHS is not a building, it’s not a piece of real estate that one sells.
“What you do to sell the NHS is a series of services and you sell the ability to provide those services.
“If that is privatised companies like American health companies and American drug companies that are providing those services, then the profit is being sucked out of the system.
“That’s how you undermine the NHS.”
The US President was adamant he wanted “nothing to do” with Britain’s health service adding: “We wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter.”
“No, not at all. Never even thought about it, honestly,” he said.
“I don’t even know where that rumour started. We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it.”
Labour chiefs had hoped the US President would embarrass the Prime Minister by intervening in the election fray.
But after a breakfast meeting with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg he promised reporters that he was “staying out” of the UK’s domestic political debate.
“I have no thoughts on it. It’s going to be a very important election for this great country, but I have no thoughts on it,” he said, adding: I don’t want to complicate it.”
LABOUR has backtracked on their claim the Tories will “sell” the NHS to America following Donald Trump’s latest statement on the matter that he would not want to buy into the British health system even if it was served on a “silver platter”.
The Labour Party has consistently claimed in its election campaign that a Boris Johnson’s government would seek to “sell” the NHS to Donald Trump in a post- Brexit trade deal with the US. But as the US President himself denied the claim at a press conference for the NATO summit on Tuesday, Labour’s Barry Gardiner backtracked on his party’s persistent claim and changed its campaign message in an interview with BBC Breakfast host Louise Minchin.