UK's Corbyn releases 'evidence' of US-UK NHS trade talks
In a dramatic twist to the UK's election race the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, on Wednesday (November 27), brandished hundreds pages of what he described as evidence, that the UK's beloved National Health Service is being discussed in trade talks with the United States.
A deal that will shape our country's future.
These reports pull back on the curtain on the secrecy that's been plotted for all of us behind closed doors by this conservative government." The NHS has become a key battleground in the December 12 election, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson called in a bid to break an impasse over Brexit.
Corbyn has repeatedly accused Johnson of preparing to sell-off the NHS - citing, for example, the U.S. President.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "So NHS or anything else, a lot a lot more than that, but everything will be on the table, absolutely." The leaked documents, cover trade discussions over a period from mid-2017 until early July this year - just before Johnson took power.
Labour said it was alarmed that U.S. officials appeared to be pushing for longer patents on medicines - something that Corbyn said would make drugs more expensive for the NHS.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UK LABOUR LEADER JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "These uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson's denials in absolute tatters." On Wednesday, Johnson dismissed the evidence - saying Corbyn was trying to divert attention from criticism on Tuesday (November 26) that he had failed to stem the tide of anti-Semitism within his party.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "We are absolutely resolved that there will be no sale of the NHS, no privatization, the NHS is not on the table in any way." Polling data released on Tuesday suggested that Labour had cut the Conservatives lead to 11 points.