PMQs: PM's deputy denies NHS ‘up for sale’ in US trade deal

PMQs: Cabinet minister denies NHS ‘up for sale’ in US trade deal

David Lidington has said the NHS will not be 'up for sale' in future trade talks

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Cabinet minister David Lidington has denied that the NHS would be “up for sale” in any future UK-US trade deal. 

This follows Donald Trump announcing to press on Tuesday that “everything was on the table” - including the NHS - in any post-Brexit trade deal.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May’s de facto deputy said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear and she spoke for everyone in the government that when it comes to trade negotiations, the NHS is not and will not be up for sale.”

Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey had accused the Prime Minister of being “silent on the matter” during Tuesday’s press conference.

The US President has since backtracked on the claim saying in a TV interview on Wednesday morning that he “did not see” the NHS being included in any trade negotiations.

He added: “I said that everything is up for negotiation because everything is but that is not something that I would consider trade.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock welcomed Mr Trump’s clarification after previously saying he would not allow the NHS to be “on the table", tweeting that the NHS was "not a bargaining chip".

During Wednesday’s Commons debate, SNP MP Kirsty Blackman also raised concerns about the NHS.

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader said there was “no guarantee" the NHS would be safe.

“This Tory government is actively working to deny the Scottish Parliament the ability to safeguard our NHS and protect our public services," she said.

But Mr Lidington defended the government, instead suggesting that the SNP's "obsession" with the Scottish independence was endangering the NHS.

"The government is not putting the NHS at risk in Scotland or anywhere else and the Prime Minister has made that very clear indeed," he said. 

“What I fear is putting at risk the NHS in Scotland is the SNP’s obsession with constitutional matters of the referendum rather than focusing on the better delivery of public services."

Both Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn missed PMQs to attend the commemorations in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. 

Mr Trump also attended the event on the final day of his three-day state visit to the UK. 

Read more

Donald Trump dismisses anti-Trump protests as 'fake news'

Trump state visit: President recites Roosevelt's prayer