Tory leadership hopefuls tell Trump NHS ‘not for sale’ in future trade talks
The would-be prime ministers joined union leaders and opposition politicians in rejecting Donald Trump’s call for the NHS to feature in trade talks.
Contenders in the race to be the next prime minister moved to distance themselves from Donald Trump’s call for the NHS to be covered by a new UK-US trade deal after Brexit.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed “the NHS isn’t on the table” and “never will be” under him.
Dear Mr President. The NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks - and never will be. Not on my watch.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 4, 2019
Dominic Raab said the NHS “is not for sale” and would not be if he was in Number 10.
I want to see the UK get fair deals on trade with the US and many other countries when we leave the EU. But the NHS is not for sale to any country and never would be if I was Prime Minister.— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) June 4, 2019
Fellow Tory leadership contender Sam Gyimah also hit back at Mr Trump’s suggestion, saying the NHS “should not be used as a bargaining chip” in the talks.
Let me state unambiguously that the NHS should not be used as a bargaining chip in any future trade talks.— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) June 4, 2019
And International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said he would not be “offering up” the NHS in any trade deal.
In case there was any doubt - I would not be “offering up” the NHS in any trade deal. The NHS is incredibly important - an extraordinary institution - a great symbol of our civilisation which we should protect and invest in an institution of which we should be deeply proud.— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) June 4, 2019
Negotiations on a future trade deal after Brexit will be carried out under Theresa May’s successor and the US will be keen for all areas of the British economy to be covered.
At a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Mr Trump 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 Mrs May said “the point in making trade deals is of course that both sides negotiate and come to an agreement about what should or should not be in that trade deal for the future”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed “Tory leadership contenders” and Nigel Farage were “lining up” a US trade agreement as part of their plans for a no-deal Brexit.
“They all need to understand: our NHS is not for sale,” he said.
Theresa May stood next to @realDonaldTrump as he said the NHS will be "on the table" in a US trade deal. And that’s what Tory leadership contenders and Farage are lining up for the No Deal disaster capitalism plans they have.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 4, 2019
They all need to understand: our NHS is not for sale.
Sara Gorton, head of health at the Unison union, said: “The Government shouldn’t stoop to allowing the NHS to be used as a bargaining chip.”
The GMB union’s national secretary Rehana Azam said Mr Trump is “just waiting to get his hands on our NHS” and “there’s a very real danger Conservatives will just hand it over to him in a trade deal”.
British Medical Association council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “We have an unequivocal message for the next Conservative leader and future prime minister: profit should never take priority over the protection of the health service and the healthcare of citizens.”
Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Sir Ed Davey said: “Those who called for Brexit on the basis it would mean better trade deals for the UK should hang their heads in shame.”