- Donald Trump insisted the National Health Service must form parts of post-Brexit trade talks with the United Kingdom.
- “Look, I think everything with a trade deal is on the table,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in London alongside Prime Minister Theresa May.
- Trump also described reports about protests against him in London as “fake news” and said that there were only a “small number of people put in for political reasons.”
- The president said he refused a meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who joined the protest, because “I don’t like critics.”
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LONDON – The National Health Service must be “on the table” in post-Brexit trade talks between the United Kingdom and the United States, president Donald Trump said in a press conference with Theresa May on Tuesday.
“Look, I think everything with a trade deal is on the table,” the president told reporters at a press conference in central London.
“When you’re dealing in trade everything is on the table. So NHS or anything else, a lot more than that.”
Prime Minister May attempted to play down the comments, saying “the point about making trade deals of course is that both sides negotiate and come to an agreement about what should or should not be in that trade deal for the future.”
Trump’s suggestion that Britain’s healthcare service could form part of trade talks was described by Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth as a “nightmare scenario.”
However, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock rejected suggestions that the NHS could form part of a deal between the two countries.
“Dear Mr President. The NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks – and never will be. Not on my watch,” he tweeted.
Trump also revealed that he had rejected a request from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for a meeting, describing the opposition leader as a “negative force.”
The Labour leader addressed a protest against Trump in central London on Tuesday.
“I don’t know Jeremy Corbyn, never met him, never spoke to him,” Trump said.
“He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I told him I did not want to do that. I think he is somewhat of a negative force.”
He added: “I really don’t like critics as much as I like people who get things done.
Corbyn’s spokesperson confirmed that the Labour leader had requested a meeting with the president.
As Trump spoke hundreds of people gathered to protest against the president alongside a giant inflatable blimp depicting Trump in a nappy.
However, Trump said reports about the protests were “fake news” and that there were only a “small number of people put in for political reasons.”
The press conference came towards the end of a controversial two days for the president in the UK.
Even before landing in the country he triggered another war of words with London mayor Sadiq Khan who he described as a “stone cold loser”.
Trump’s request for a meeting with the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was also rejected, although the two men did speak on the phone.
May, who will resign as Conservative leader on Friday, did not host a one-on-one meeting with the president, which Downing Street insisted had never been planned.
The pair instead took part in a series of painstakingly choreographed meetings designed to underpin business relations between the two countries and to highlight the potential benefits of a post-Brexit trade deal, starting with a joint business breakfast between UK and US firms at Number 10 on Tuesday.
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