The health secretary Matt Hancock has rebuffed the US ambassador to the UK for claiming that the NHs would be ‘on the table’ in a post-Brexit trade deal.
Woody Johnson said he expected the “entire economy” – including the health service – would be part of a future deal.
But Hancock responded by saying that the NHS is “not for sale”.
“Yes we’d love to make it cheaper to buy your life-saving pharmaceuticals – but the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade talks,” he tweeted.
Johnson make the comments after he was asked about fears that a free trade deal with the US would mean American pharmaceutical and medical corporations getting a slice of the NHS.
He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “Oh I don’t think they’d be put in any particular position regarding that.
“Your national healthcare service is the pride of the country. It’s a highly emotionally charged issue.”
But asked if he thought healthcare would have to be part of the deal, he replied: “I think probably the entire economy, in a trade deal all things that are traded will be on the table.”
Pressed on whether that included healthcare, Johnson said: “I would think so.”