Nigel Farage caught in debate lie about privatising the NHS

PUBLISHED: 10:22 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:54 02 December 2019

Farage denied he had ever talked about privatising the NHS on the ITV general election debate. Picture: ITV

Farage denied he had ever talked about privatising the NHS on the ITV general election debate. Picture: ITV

ITV

Nigel Farage's earlier speeches have come back to haunt him after he denied he has ever supported the privatisation of the NHS.

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During a skirmish on the seven-way ITV general election debate on Sunday, Nigel Farage called for a stop to the "lies" that there are political figures who want to see the NHS privatised.

After Labour's debater Richard Burgon reminded the Brexit Party leader of his own words on the topic, Farage denied he had ever said "anything of the kind".

Speaking on the NHS during the debate, Farage said he had used the NHS throughout his life and praised its service. But he said the issue shouldn't be a "political football" and claims that some political figures wish to see it privatised are "lies".

"Let's stop the lies shall we, let's stop [saying] that everyone wants to privatise it, Donald Trump wants to buy it," he said, addressing Burgon.

"He's not going to buy it, Richard, nobody else wants to privatise it - actually we all want the same thing. I know your party gave us PFI [private finance intitiative] deals, but we all want the same thing.

"Could this possibly be one issue that shouldn't be a political football, and where we could perhaps work together to find a solution?"

Burgon challenged this, saying in a fiery exchange: "You're on the record as saying that you saw the case for replacing our National Health Service with some kind of American-style insurance system."

Interrupting, Farage said: "I've never said anything of the kind, I've said that richer people [should have] private insurance."

Footage from 2012 shows otherwise, however.

In a notorious video from his "Common Sense" speaking tour, Farage is seen called for an insurance-based system of healthcare dictated by market forces rather than central government.

The video has been re-shared by numerous campaigners including anti-Brexit group Led by Donkeys and NHS Million.

He said: "I think we're going to have to think about healthcare very very differently.

"And I think we're going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare.

"Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the marketplace of an insurance company than just us trustingly giving £100 billion a year to central government, and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us."

In 2015, Farage was asked again on BBC Newsnight about the same comments.

He told Evan Davies: "What I talked about ... I did say we're going to have to start thinking about whether the future is that system."

He added: "One thing for certain is no debate should be closed."

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