U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France.
Stefan Rousseau | Pool | Getty Images
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that the U.K. would walk away from trade negotiations with the U.S. if its National Health Service (NHS) was on the table.
Speaking to LBC radio on Friday, Johnson insisted that the NHS was “not for sale,” and promised that the NHS would not be part of any trade negotiations following the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.
The main opposition Labour party earlier this week released a cache of leaked internal documents from the Department for International Trade (DIT) pertaining to show the renowned state-run health service being discussed as part of bilateral talks between British and American negotiators.
“Under no circumstances will this government or any Conservative government do anything to put the NHS up for negotiation in trade talks, or privatizing, anything like that,” Johnson said.
“Were the United States or any other country to insist on that as a condition of talks, we would simply walk out,” he insisted, adding that any government which went down the route of privatization for the NHS would “never be re-elected.”
On a visit to the U.K. in June, President Donald Trump said in a press conference that the NHS could form part of trade negotiations between the long-standing transatlantic allies.
Johnson also implored Trump, a vocal supporter of the Conservative prime minister, to stay out of British politics when he visits London for next week’s NATO summit. The U.S. leader said in October that Johnson should enter into an electoral pact with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
“What we don’t do traditionally is get involved in each other’s election campaigns,” Johnson said, adding that the ideal scenario for “close friends and allies like the U.S. and the U.K. is for neither side to get involved in each other’s election.”
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has frequently used Trump’s praise of Johnson to attack the ruling Conservative Party during the campaign, suggesting that the NHS would be sold off to U.K. businesses after Brexit.