Health Secretary insists UK will have US trade deal even if it has to walk away – and admits Tories only partially successful in keeping NHS off table in earlier talks
Health Secretary Matt Hancock looked panicked as Sky’s Adam Boulton put him on the spot in what quickly became a car-crash interview this morning.
Hancock tried to blame the EU for the NHS being ‘on the table’ in trade talks with the US – then admitted that the Tories were only ‘partially successful’ in preventing it.
But under the pressure of yesterday’s revelations by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn of the Tories’ NHS negotiations with Trump’s advisers, Hancock soon shot himself in the foot with a rattled insistence that if the US insisted that the NHS had to be part of a trade deal, the UK would ‘walk away’.
But when Boulton pointed out that would mean not having a trade deal, Hancock tried to insist that there will be one – and when Boulton challenged him to make his mind up, he started spinning like a self-contradictory top:
Donald Trump, of course, has stated unequivocally that the NHS ‘and a lot more than that’ would have to be on the table for the US to agree any deal.
The Tories’ negotiation papers have made clear not only that the US continues to insist that access to the NHS and a new patent deal that would push up drug prices are central to any deal from the US viewpoint – but also that the talks to include them are at a very advanced stage.
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