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Jeremy Corbyn reveals unredacted documents which he says shows NHS is 'up for sale'

Corbyn says the documents show the trade talks were at a “very advanced stage”.

Corbyn at today's press conference.
Corbyn at today's press conference.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

UK’S LABOUR PARTY has accused the Conservatives of negotiating a secret trade deal with the US to open up the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies.

Jeremy Corbyn said they had obtained uncensored government documents showing talks were at a “very advanced stage”.

During an ITV debate last week, Corbyn had produced documents relating to the negotiations provided by the government which were heavily redacted.  

He said the 451 pages covered six rounds of negotiations – taking place in Washington and London – starting in July 2107 to “just a few months ago”.

Speaking at a news conference in London, the Labour leader said the papers gave the lie to Boris Johnson’s claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks.

“The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters,” the told a news conference in London.

We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.

On medicine pricing, he said the documents showed discussions had already been concluded between the two sides on lengthening patents.

“Longer patents can only mean one thing – more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this,” he said.

He pointed to the example to the drug Humira – used to treat Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis – which costs the NHS £1,409 a packet while in the US the price was £8,115.

Corbyn said that according to the readout of the second meeting, UK officials noted the “patent issues” around “NHS access to generic drugs will be a key consideration” in talks.

By the fourth meeting, he said, the officials on the two sides were ready to “exchange text” and to “really take significant further steps” – suggesting the negotiations were at a “very advanced stage”.

Corbyn said the documents also made clear that for the US, “everything is included unless something is specifically excluded” and that “total market access” was the “baseline assumption” of the negotiations.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

In response, he said that British officials reassured their counterparts that “the US should expect the UK to be a liberalising influence” and that together they could “fly the good flag for services liberalisation”.

Corbyn said: “That’s a green light for breaking open Britain’s public services so corporations can profit from (them).”

In response to Corbyn’s claims about the NHS, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said that the Labour leader was engaging in “conspiracy theories”.

Jeremy Corbyn is getting desperate and is out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain. He has always believed in conspiracy theories – which is why he has failed to crack down on the scourge of antisemitism in his party. This is the man that has caused huge offence by blaming an imaginary ‘Zionist lobby’ for society’s ills and now he has decided to smear UK officials too.

“As we have consistently made clear: the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal and the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. This sort of conspiracy theory fuelled nonsense is not befitting of the leader of a major political party.”

The claim that the NHS would form part of a free-trade deal with the US under the Tories has been one of the Labour’s key attack lines in the general election campaign.

It has been vehemently denied by the Conservatives, with Johnson denouncing the claim as “an absolute invention” and “completely untrue” when he clashed with Mr Corbyn in the first TV debate.

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The Labour leader, however, said the papers showed the true situation.

“We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit. A deal that will shape our country’s future,” he said.

“These reports pull back the curtain on the secrecy that’s being plotted for us all, behind closed doors, by the Conservative government.

“This is what they didn’t want you to know.”

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