Johnson and Corbyn clash over NHS again – as Labour leader accused of ‘Bermuda Triangle stuff’

By Tom Holmes
December 6 2019, 22.05

Boris Johnson accused Jeremy Corbyn of ‘pure Bermuda Triangle stuff’ as the two clashed over the privatisation of the NHS in the BBC Prime Ministerial Debate.

Mr Corbyn argued leaked documents from US/UK trade talks demonstrated that the NHS was on the table in any deal with America.

But Mr Johnson repeated his stringent denials of that fact and hit back on Labour’s own record on privatisation.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s pure Bermuda triangle stuff. We’ve heard it time and time again. We will be hearing about little green men next.

“I believe very passionately in the NHS – the central idea that if one of us gets sick, all of us take care of it. We believe in the NHS free at the point of use and under no circumstances would we sell it off to anybody.”

When challenged on whether the documents actually proved his point, Mr Corbyn argued that it was clear US President Donald Trump wanted more access to public services.

He added that Trump wanted to increase the amount paid worldwide for medicine, and that that was an agenda that Mr Johnson wanted into.

“Labour will end privatisation and return the NHS to what it was supposed to be, a fully funded, fully-functioning public health service,” he said.

But Mr Johnson strongly rejected any claims he would allow anyone access to the NHS.

He said: “I’ve made it absolutely clear that it will not happen.

“The biggest privatisation of our NHS took place under the last Labour government which put in the ruinous PFI system.”

When Mr Corbyn tried to argue that the Conservatives opposed the formation of the NHS, Mr Johnson pointed out that that was in the 1940s.

Nick Robinson, chairing the debate, pressed Mr Corbyn on his claims that people would have to pay for cancer treatment.

“Do you accept there’s no possibility of anyone paying for cancer treatment under the NHS?” he asked.

Mr Corbyn responded: “If you end up with a privatised service, that is what you get. If you end up with a US trade deal, that is what you get.

“Mr Johnson says he won’t do that deal but in that case, why has it taken two years to negotiate it? It doesn’t take two years to say no.”

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