Jeremy Corbyn shows an unredacted copy of a US trade deal document.
Jeremy Corbyn shows an unredacted copy of a US trade deal document.

There is a difference between knowing something to be true and having proof that it is so.

We have known for a long time that the Tories want to privatise the NHS. As far back as the turn of the century Boris Johnson is quoted as saying:

 “If people payed for healthcare they would appreciate it more.”

Nigel Farage tells us:

 “I think we are 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…”

However throughout this campaign Johnson and the Tories have insisted that they will not sell off the NHS or include it in a trade deal with the USA. This flies directly in the face of of their activities over the last 9 years where:

  •  they and their Lib Dem allies have already privatised large tracts of the NHS with devastating consequences for waiting times and level of service
  • The view of the US trade negotiator on the Andrew Marr show that the NHS would be part of any post Brexit trade deal.
  • A similar statement from President Trump that the NHS would be on the table for any trade deal.

Whilst the Tories have tried to pass these statements off as merely positioning attempts ahead of Trade talks the evidence for the privatisations already enacted has been clear for all to see.

Now the evidence that the NHS not only will be part of trade talks but is already part of them is available for all to see.

Jeremy Corbyn last week released heavily redacted records of trade talks which he claimed showed that the NHS would be sold off and that there would be a block on the use of generic drugs resulting in a £500 million per week increase in the NHS drugs bill as it was forced to use patented drugs. Drugs are two and a half times more expensive in the US than in the UK.

Today (27 November) he has released 451 pages of unredacted documents clearly showing that the Tories have been lying and that the NHS will be further privatised, on terms dictated by the big US pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, if the Tories are returned to power.

It also now appears that the US are pushing hard for an extension in the period during which patented drugs are covered. The big US pharmaceutical companies are continuing their drive to kill off the generic drugs industry in favour of their overpriced patented drugs and the US wants to enroll the UK in that activity as part of any trade deal.

The cost is astronomical and is part of a coordinated attempt to bankrupt any social provision of healthcare.

These are not new talks. There have been at least 6 rounds of these discussions which, it appears, were started by Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary.

The documents published today are a substantial body of proof of the Tories duplicity. But there is probably more. The government should now publish, in full, the record of these talks and all the background papers.

Labour has issued a manifesto which will improve the life’s of everybody in the UK. But there is no more immediate and important issue than protection of the NHS. Jeremy Corbyn says:

“Imagine opening a five-figure bill for your cancer treatment. Imagine paying to give birth. Paying to have a check-up at the GP. That’s what Boris Johnson and Donald Trump want.”

The proof of the Tories’ intention to sell it off makes this now the biggest issue in an election of big issues.

Only a vote for Labour will retain the NHS. That is the clear and simple message that needs to be heard by everybody with a vote in this election.

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