The shadow employment rights secretary Laura Pidcock and Kay Burley clashed over the source of documents held by Labour which the party says prove the NHS is ‘on the table’ in trade talks with the United States.
The Labour leader last week claimed he had an unredacted report that gave details of meetings between US and UK officials, where they discussed the stipulations of a free trade deal between the two nations after Britain leaves the European Union.
However, senior Tory politicians like Dominic Raab allege that the report is fabricated, misunderstood, or has come from unreliable sources.
The Telegraph reported on their front page that Labour must ‘come clean’ over the leaked government documents after potential links to Russia – a claim which Labour leader Jeremy Cobryn has denied.
“They’re from Russia and you don’t want to say, do you?” Sky News presenter Kay Burley asked Laura Pidcock.
Pidcock laughed and replied: “Honestly this is absolutely ridiculous, I am telling you these are official government documents that the Labour party held up in public”.
Burley then told the shadow cabinet member that, as a journalist, she would need to attribute a source to establish the veracity of the documents which she argues may be Russian leaked “which would be absolutely fine if they are true and accurate”.
“These are government documents, why is that so hard to comprehend?” Pidcock said. “These are reports that have taken place and we have held them up in public. If you feel like there is no line of questioning on whether the NHS is up for sale ion free trade agreements then fine.
“The fundamental issue is our precious NHS is not safe in the hands of a Tory government.”
But for Burley, greater proof was needed that the documents were official government documents.
“Nobody has denied that,” Pidcock said. “The government haven’t denied that.”
Reports suggest that the documents were posted by single-use ‘burner’ accounts on the online forum Reddit, in a method which matches similar information links from Russian authorities.
“Neither party have denied that these are official party documents,” Pidcock said. “The fundamental question that you don’t seem interested in is whether or not our NHS is up for sale”.