Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged Donald Trump to confirm the NHS is “genuinely off the table” in post-Brexit trade talks between the US and UK.
The US President landed at Stansted overnight for London’s Nato summit this week.
His visit comes ahead of the 12 December General Election, which is being dominated by Brexit and US access to NHS contracts in a future trade deal.
In a letter addressed to Trump, Corbyn wrote: “I am writing to you today to seek assurances in relation to a post-Brexit UK-US trade agreement, and in particular over the prices paid to US drugs companies as a consequence of any such UK trade deal with the US.
“As you will know, the potential impact of any future UK-US trade agreement on our National Health Service and other vital public services is of profound concern to the British public.”
Issues Corbyn raised included the cost of drugs on the NHS. He said patented US drugs cost 2.5 times as much as their UK counterparts and that the top 20 medicines are 4.8 times higher on average than in Britain.
“Any increase in the NHS drugs bill would be an unacceptable outcome of US-UK trade negotiations,” Corbyn added.
“Yet you have given a number of clear and worrying indications that this is exactly what you hope to achieve.”
Corbyn accused the Tories of a “plot” to sell off parts of the NHS to the US in a future trade deal.
He revealed a 451-page previously redacted government document that he claimed as proof the NHS was up for sale.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed the accusations out of hand, calling them “total nonsense”.
“We are absolutely resolved that there will be no sale of the NHS, no privatisation; the NHS is not on the table in any way,” Johnson said last week.
Instead, he claimed it was a “diversionary tactic” employed by Labour to draw attention away from its antisemitism crisis and Brexit.
But reports are circulating that Tory bigwigs are worried about Trump’s visit to the UK, seeing him as a risk to Johnson’s election chances.
Corbyn’s letter demands that “US negotiating objectives are revised as a matter of urgency”.