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America wants nothing to do with the NHS, Trump insists

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall meet US President Donald Trump and wife Melania at Clarence House
Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall meet US President Donald Trump and wife Melania at Clarence House
Mr Trump with the Queen at Buckingham Palace

By Harriet Line

Donald Trump has insisted America wants "nothing to do with" the NHS amid claims that the health service could be used as a bargaining chip in post-Brexit trade talks.

The US president, speaking in London at the start of the Nato summit, claimed he would "stay out" of the General Election campaign because he does not want to "complicate it".

But Mr Trump went on to describe Boris Johnson as "very capable" and said he would be meeting the Prime Minister during the course of his visit to the UK.

In a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the US ambassador's residence in London, Mr Trump was asked if the NHS should be on the table in trade talks.

He replied: "No, not at all, I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly."

The president added: "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."

Mr Trump first sparked fears over his nation's interest in the health service earlier this year when he said: "When you're dealing in trade, everything is on the table - so NHS or anything else, a lot more than that, but everything will be on the table, absolutely."

But he later performed a U-turn, amid a public outcry, to say that he does not see it as being "part of trade".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn published a letter to Mr Trump on Monday night in which he asked for "reassurances" that US negotiators would not look to push up UK medicine prices by seeking access to the NHS for major American pharmaceutical companies.

His party has repeatedly claimed that the health service is "on the table" in a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

Mr Trump said he could "work with anybody" when asked whether he could work with Mr Corbyn as prime minister, though earlier said he thought Mr Johnson would do a "good job".

The PM, on a campaign visit to the South West, said he was meeting all Nato leaders when asked whether he would be holding talks with Mr Trump.

Mr Johnson also said he could "categorically rule out" that "any part of the NHS will be on the table in any trade negotiations", adding that it included pharmaceuticals. "This is pure Loch Ness Monster, Bermuda Triangle stuff," he said.

Leaders including Mr Trump and Mr Corbyn gathered for a reception at Buckingham Palace last night.

The president's intervention came as Labour faced questions over whether Russian disinformation was behind the party's 451-page unredacted report which revealed the details of UK-US talks regarding a future trade deal between the two countries.

Mr Corbyn twice declined to defend the provenance of the documents on the talks after parallels were drawn with the disclosure and a Russian misinformation campaign, saying it was "nonsense" to suggest they may have arrived via Russian hackers.

Later, on ITV's This Morning, Mr Corbyn said: "I held the dossier up because it had been released, and I've seen it, and at no stage until today when this new conspiracy theory arose has anyone challenged the correctness of that document.

"If the document is not accurate, it's been out there all this time, no minister has claimed it's inaccurate.

"No Government has, and in reality the minutes are there of meetings which involved Liam Fox in the early stages and officials later on.

"And Donald Trump himself said everything is on the table, including our National Health Service."

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