Donald Trump has stated clearly that the NHS will be ‘on the table’ in a post-Brexit deal – ‘and a whole lot more than that’.
Following the comments of the US ambassador Woody Johnson at the weekend, the president said “I think everything with a trade deal is on the table.
“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.”
There was an awkward moment at the start of the question, as Trump claimed to not hear the question.
It led to an uncomfortable moment where Theresa May had to repeat the basis of the question to the US president.
The claim followed US ambassador Woody Johnson saying he expected the “entire economy” – including the health service – to be part of a future deal.
Theresa May said: “But 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.”
Dr Paul Williams, practicing GP, Labour MP and leading supporter of People’s Vote, said: “In case anyone was still in any doubt about Donald Trump’s intention to get his hands on our NHS, the US President just made it crystal clear.
“It has long been apparent that he and those around him want to use Brexit as an opportunity to lower our food standards, raise prescription drug prices and prise open the NHS for competition from American companies. But his insistence today that everything, including the NHS, must be “on the table” in trade talks was as shocking as it was insulting.
“Trump wants to bounce whoever succeeds Theresa May as prime minister into signing a hasty America First trade deal. And he knows that a car crash No Deal Brexit – for which there is no mandate from the public – would be the quickest way of getting the UK to submit to his demands. That is not the behaviour of a friend to Britain. It’s the behaviour of a bully.
“We need a People’s Vote so that the British people – not Donald Trump – can have the final say on the facts of Brexit, and determine the future we want for our NHS and our country.”
Lib Dem leadership candidate Ed Davey MP challenged all Conservative leadership candidates to rule it out.
“This is a national embarrassment. Trump stands up next to a weakened Prime Minister on her way out of office and repeats the demands of his Ambassador, that our precious NHS be up for negotiation in US trade deal talks.
“With friends like this, who needs enemies?
“Those who called for Brexit on the basis it would mean better trade deals for the UK should hang their heads in shame.
“I challenge all Tory leadership candidates to stand up to Trump’s demands, and firmly rule out our health service being on the table in any future trade deal talks.”