Trump ambassador insists US is not after the NHS - despite saying differently last year

PUBLISHED: 11:05 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:09 10 January 2020

Woody Johnson appears on LBC Radio with Nick Ferrari. Photograph: LBC.

Woody Johnson appears on LBC Radio with Nick Ferrari. Photograph: LBC.

Archant

US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson has insisted the America is not trying to ‘buy’ the NHS in a post-Brexit trade deal.

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The comments are a u-turn on remarks made in the summer when the ambassador said the US would want the health service to be involved in negotiations.

Asked if the US wanted to buy the NHS, Johnson told Nick Ferrari on LBC: "No, no, and double no.

"The president said... if you gave it to him on a silver platter he wouldn't take it.

"We have got our own issues dealing with health care. It's a major, major issue.

"The president wants to concentrate on his health issues that he has, the national health issues. You have Obama care and converting it into something that gives people choices.

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"You can solve the NHS issues. And I think the prime minister has been very clear that he wants to emphasis improving health care and efficiency. And more hospitals and more nurses, which is great."

But in June, appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, he said: "Your national health care service is the pride of the country, and it's a highly emotionally-charged issue," before adding: "I think probably the entire economy in a trade deal would be on the table."

Asked if that includes the health service he responded: "I would think so".

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