Little public support for NHS to be included in post-Brexit US trade deal, poll suggests

PUBLISHED: 11:49 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:49 10 June 2019

The NHS. Picture: PA/Dominic Lipinski

The NHS. Picture: PA/Dominic Lipinski

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Fewer than one in five people believe the NHS should be included in trade deal discussions with the US government after Brexit, new research suggests.

A survey of more than 1,000 adults for the GMB union found similar levels of opposition to selling off the NHS regardless of whether they voted to Leave or Remain in the European Union.

Only 17% of those polled said the NHS should be on the table in trade negotiations with the United States and a clear majority of supporters of every political party want it excluded, said the GMB.

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Three out of four of those who voted to remain or leave the EU said they were opposed to the NHS being part of trade talks with the US.

Twice as many people said they expected the US to get the best outcome from any US-UK trade deal than those who think the UK will be the biggest beneficiary.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache, speaking at the union's annual conference in Brighton, said: "Donald Trump wouldn't just bite our hand off, he'd rip up our cherished public services in a heartbeat if Tory zealots let him.

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"Whichever way they voted back in 2016, people are overwhelmingly opposed to allowing our NHS to be up for grabs to US big business interests.

"There is a widespread lack of confidence that the UK would benefit from a trade deal with Trump and a fear that our country would be rich pickings.

"We need a new approach to trade deals which puts the interest of people before corporate profits, not a slippery slope that sees our national assets auctioned off."

It follows Donald Trump's comments where he said the NHS would have to be on the table - before he rowed back after criticism from politicians.

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