Corbyn: Boris Johnson's 'Trump-deal Brexit' is a vote to 'betray our NHS'

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Jeremy Corbyn has warned voting Conservatives at the general election is a "vote to betray our NHS" and risks selling out the health service to Donald Trump.

Speaking in Harlow, Essex, the Labour leader attacked Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, saying it put the NHS at risk of increased privatisation - something the Tories have repeatedly denied.

Mr Corbyn has been quick to defend his party's credentials and today insisted the NHS will only be safe in the hands of a Labour government.

He told supporters: "A vote for Johnson is a vote to betray our NHS and sell out to Trump.

"Johnson's Trump-deal-Brexit puts a price tag on our NHS. So we will say it again and again until the message gets through to the White House - 'Our NHS is not for sale'.

The Labour leader's speech was well received by those in attendance, with the crowd breaking into chants of "not for sale".

"Shout it loud and shout it on the doorsteps, make sure they all hear it," Mr Corbyn said.

The Labour leader said the Tories are preparing to unleash "Thatcherism on steroids", opening up the health service to US pharmaceutical companies and stripping workers of their rights.

Mr Corbyn said Mr Johnson is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal with the US that would mean “full market access” to the NHS for US producers, pushing up the cost of medicines.

The Conservatives have consistently denied the NHS would be “on the table” in trade talks with President Donald Trump’s administration.

  • Corbyn outlines Labour's Brexit stance

Mr Corbyn has promised to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU within six months of taking office if he wins the upcoming general election.

Speaking at his campaign launch on Tuesday, the Labour leader insisted his timetable was "realistic", adding he would not have agreed to it if he did not think it was doable.

At his speech, Mr Corbyn sought to add clarity to Labour's Brexit position.

He said Labour would "tear up" Mr Johnson's Brexit deal and negotiate a new deal which would create a new customs union arrangement.

Mr Corbyn said that deal would be put back to voters in another referendum, with the choice being between his newly negotiated deal and Remain.

He said the party would work in "parallel" with parliament to legislate for second referendum on the Labour deal within six months.

However the Conservative have criticised Mr Corbyn for failing to lay out his Brexit agenda, with Mr Johnson saying voters needed a "clear picture" before heading to the polls on December 12.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn told supporters: "Let's get Brexit sorted within six months and build a fairer country that truly cares for all.

"Where wealth and power are shared, for the many, not the few.

"This election is a once-in-a-generation chance. The future is ours to make, together. It's time for real change," he said.

He added: "The deadline we've set is a realistic one. We wouldn't be saying it if we didn't think it was do-able and possible," he told journalists.

He said the party would work in "parallel" with parliament to legislate for second referendum on the Labour deal within six months.

Speaking about the speedy renegotiation with the EU, Mr Corbyn joked: "Keir has a season ticket on the Eurostar so the cost will be minimal to continue those discussions with Brussels."

The Islington North MP took aim at Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, claiming it would be bad for the UK economy, workers' right and the NHS.

  • Corbyn urged to 'come clean' on Brexit

Mr Corbyn has been under pressure to lay out his position on Brexit, after the prime minister challenged the Labour leader to "come clean" about his plan for leaving the European Union in an open letter.

Mr Corbyn accused Mr Johnson of trying to “hijack” Brexit so he can sell out the NHS if he is returned to power in the general election.

General election campaigning appeared to ramp up between the two leaders ahead of the dissolution of Parliament at a minute past midnight on Wednesday.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn on Monday night, Mr Johnson focused on Brexit, saying his rival has “sought to avoid explaining” what his plan is, and seems to want to “go back to square one”.

He wrote: “When they choose the next Prime Minister, the voters deserve to have a clear picture of what each potential leader will do when it comes to Brexit.”

The prime minister warned any further delay, or possibly another referendum, risked destroying "all faith in our democratic process".

He added: "For months you have refused to say what sort of ‘deal’ you want with the EU. Now the time has come for you to come clean, and explain what your plan really is."

Mr Johnson held his last Cabinet meeting ahead of the general election, admitting its a poll "none of us particularly wanted".

The prime minister said the government "can be very proud" of what they had achieved in a short period of time.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the open letter "smacks of desperation" and is "the stunt that shadow minister normally get up to in order to get a bit of publicity."

He told ITV News: "We got stuck for three and half years trying to get a resolution to the Brexit questions, so an incoming Labour government will secure the best possible Leave deal and then put it up against Remain in a referendum within six months.

"So people will have the choice, if they want to leave on the deal then they can vote for that, and leave on that deal or they can remain and that will be done within six months."

While Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove told ITV News' Political Correspondent Paul Brand there will be no extension to the Brexit transition period.

"We are confident we can get a good deal, when Boris became prime minister, people said it was impossible to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, it was impossible to get rid of the Back Stop, he moved from square one to a great deal in 90 days," Mr Gove said.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have vowed to put a £50 billion “Remain bonus” into public services if they win the General Election.

The Brexit Party will kick off a nationwide tour as part of its campaign, taking in towns in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, after leader Nigel Farage vowed to target the five million Labour voters who backed Leave in the referendum.

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