Nicola Sturgeon has attacked Boris Johnson’s record on the NHS saying she “would not trust” the former London Mayor with the country’s health service.
The Scottish First Minster and the Tory MP were taking part in an ITV debate over Britain’s membership of the European Union, with Ms Sturgeon championing the Remain camp and Mr Johnson calling for Brexit.
Responding to student Zahra Khan’s query as to whether the NHS would be better In or Out of the EU, Mr Johnson claimed leaving the EU would allow more money to be invested into the service.
“The NHS is under huge pressure,” said Mr Johnson. “We could have a better system if we had more money and if we were able to recruit the people we want and if we were able to control our immigration, which currently we cannot do.”
In response Ms Sturgeon said: “ The people I talk to in the NHS in Scotland… they want to see more investment in the health service, they want to see lower waiting times and they know that one of the things that’s made that more difficult are the austerity cuts that have been supported by Boris Johnson all the time the Tories have been in government.
“The answer to the pressures on our NHS is not to blame immigrants, many of whom work in our NHS to invest more money in our National Health Service.
“I wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson with the health service as far as I could throw Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson is the guy who said that if people had to pay for the National Health Service they might value it more. Whatever else you do, do not trust a word Boris Johnson says about the NHS.”
The Energy Secretary Amber Rudd for Remain said the UK would have a stronger NHS if we have money to spend on it by staying In. The EU makes this country "stronger and richer," she said. "That allows us to pay more money into the NHS.”
Mr Johnson dismissed these claims saying the EU is the "zone of lowest growth apart from Antarctica".
The Leave campaign has continuously put the NHS at the heart of their argument. They have pledged to redirect £5.2 billion of Britain’s annual spending on the EU to the NHS. They also say that migration from the EU has put increased pressure on the health service, lengthening queues at A&E and at the GP surgery.
Remain campaigners say that the likelihood of an economic shock for the UK in the event of Brexit would mean the Government would have less money to fund the service. They also point to the 130,000 non-British EU citizens who work in health and social care, whose visa status would be uncertain if the UK left the EU.
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