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As it happenedended1575412527

General election news – live: Hundreds of protesters march to Buckingham Palace over Trump NHS fears

Follow all the latest developments as they happened

Adam Forrest,Benjamin Kentish,Jon Sharman
Tuesday 03 December 2019 23:35 GMT
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Boris Johnson is welcoming Nato leaders to UK for two-day summit
Boris Johnson is welcoming Nato leaders to UK for two-day summit (Getty Images)

Hundreds of protesters marched to Buckingham Palace to protest Donald Trump's presence in London, amid fears for the future of the NHS.

Demonstrators, including some NHS staff, joined anti-war activists on the march as Nato leaders were hosted by the Queen.

It came after ​Jeremy Corbyn wrote to Mr Trump demanding he take the NHS “off the table” in any post-Brexit trade deal, though the president claimed the US wanted “nothing to do with [the NHS]”.

Earlier on Tuesday Dominic Raab admitted the US would be able to ramp up the cost of drugs bought by the NHS after Britain leaves the EU.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the general election campaign, with only nine days until we go to the polls.

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 08:23
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Raab admits co-authoring pamphlet which said two-thirds of NHS hospitals should be privatised

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has claimed the Tories have no plans to privatise the NHS.

But he has been asked about his involvement in writing a paper advocating a system in which two-thirds of hospitals were run privately, he said: “You’ve picked probably a snippet from a pamphlet written a long time ago, but I can tell you categorically I’ve never advocated privatisation of the NHS.”

On trade talks with the US, Raab also told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “[We’re] absolutely clear there’s going to be no privatisation of the NHS under the Conservatives’ watch or this prime minister’s watch.

“In relation to drugs, there’s going to be no dilution of our protection of consumers in this country. Obviously we want the cheapest and highest quality medicines coming into the NHS, there's going to be no dilution of our position on that whatsoever.”

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 08:28
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Corbyn writes to Trump demanding ‘urgent clarity’ over NHS

Jeremy Corbyn has written a letter to Donald Trump demanding he will not try to push medicine prices up through a post-Brexit trade deal.

To mark the US president’s arrival in London for the start of the Nato summit, Corbyn has written to him asking for “urgent” reassurances his administration will not try to include selling higher-priced US drugs to the NHS on its trade wish list.

The Labour leader wrote: “As you will know, the potential impact of any future UK-US trade agreement on our National Health Service and other vital public services is of profound concern to the British public.

“A critical issue in this context is the cost of drugs to our NHS. The cost of patented drugs in the US is approximately 2.5 times higher than in the UK, and the price of the top 20 medicines is 4.8 times higher than in the UK.

“Any increase in the NHS drugs bill would be an unacceptable outcome of US-UK trade negotiations,” he added: “Yet you have given a number of clear and worrying indications that this is exactly what you hope to achieve.”

Corbyn also said: “The British public need urgent clarity that our NHS is genuinely off the table.”

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 08:32
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Johnson hopes Trump will avoid election talk during trip

Boris Johnson has made clear his hope that Donald Trump will steer clear of commentary on British politics during his two-day visit for a meeting of Nato leaders – and Downing Street has yet to confirm any one-on-one meeting between the pair.

But when the president faces the press following the meeting in a Hertfordshire country hotel on Wednesday, he will inevitably face questions on his view of the election, the ongoing Brexit process and the highly sensitive issue of whether the NHS should be on the table in trade talks between the UK and US.

Our political editor has more on the US president’s trip:

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 08:38
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UEFA president accuses Johnson of hypocrisy over racism

Aleksander Ceferin, the president of UEFA, has criticised Boris Johnson when asked about racism in football.

“The situation in Europe is more and more tense,” said Ceferin in an interview with The Daily Mirror. “When you see high politicians, prime ministers - when you see presidents of republics who are racists, who were sexist, you see that something is wrong.”

Referring to Johnson, he said: “When a politician that calls women with burqas post boxes or mailboxes then says publicly that he condemns you UEFA – do you reply to that? Do you believe it’s honest? Come on.”

Johnson called on UEFA to crack down on racism after the England team was subjected to abuse during a European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria in October.

But Ceferin said: “if you see an idiot from the streets shouting you say: ‘Okay, put him in prison’ … But when politicians start speaking they are not punished. And we have that in Europe a lot more and more as more and more.”

Aleksander Ceferin, the president of UEFA (Reuters) 

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 08:46
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Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans will cost economy up to £20bn a year, report warns

“Getting Brexit” on the terms of the Tory manifesto will inflict a hit of up to £20bn a year on government finances, rising as high as £28bn if the UK crashes out of the EU without a trade deal, a new report has warned.

Analysis by the UK in a Changing Europe (UKCE) think tank estimated that Labour’s softer proposed withdrawal deal would deliver a positive fiscal impact of £2-£12bn

The Lib Dem plan to halt Brexit altogether would provide a “Remain bonus” worth £12bn a year to government coffers.

Our political editor has all the details:

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 09:03
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Trump threat to the NHS ‘very real,’ says SNP

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is no question that if there is to be a trade deal with North America that drugs would have to be part of that.”

He added: “One of the things that we’ve asked is that we bring forward a bill to the House of Commons, an NHS protection bill, that would specifically protect the NHS from any negative consequences of a US trade deal.”

The US, he said, would have an “awful lot of clout and power” in those talks, adding: “We know these things are very real, we know there is a threat to the NHS.”

Questioned on the SNP's health record, Blackford argued: “There is a challenge that all governments face over national health, but the fact is that our performance in Scotland is far superior than that of the rest of the UK.”

He added: “With Boris Johnson there's a threat that we have anyway, a threat of taking us out of the EU and as a consequence of that, a trade deal that would divert resources that we need for front line spending away from that into additional costs for drugs if he does a deal with Donald Trump.”

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 09:10
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Donald Trump says he will meet with Boris Johnson – and says PM doing ‘good job’

Donald Trump is answering reporters’ questions now about his two-day visit to the UK.

Asked about the election and whether he will be meeting Boris Johnson, he said: “It’s going to be a very important election for this, but I have no thoughts on it, but I will be meeting with him, yes.”

He said he was unsure when and where they would meet. “I have a lot of meetings.”

Asked why he is staying out of the election, Trump said: “Because I don’t want to complicate it.”

He added: “I’ll stay out of the election. You know that I was a fan of Brexit. I called it the day before,” he said.

Trump added: “I think Boris is very capable and I think he'll do a good job.”

The PM had made clear he had hoped the president will steer clear of any commentary on the campaign. Downing Street has yet to confirm any one-on-one meeting between the pair.

Donald Trump speaks at London's Winfield House (AP) 

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 09:33
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Trump says US wants ‘nothing to do’ with NHS – despite previous claim it was ‘on the table’ 

Asked about the controversy over the NHS and a potential UK-US trade deal, Donald Trump has denied wanting any part of the British health service.

He told reporters: “I have nothing to do with it, never even thought about it honestly – we have enough … Look, we are going to have a great healthcare system, we’re doing great heath care work, we’ve got things really running well.”

“If you handed it [the NHS] to us on a silver platter, we would want nothing to do with it.”

Trump previously publicly stated: “When you’re dealing in trade everything is on the table – the NHS or anything else.”

Trump also said he could “work with anybody” when asked whether he could work with Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. He replied: “I can work with anybody, I’m a very easy person to work with.”

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 09:52
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500 NHS workers ask Trump to take NHS ‘off the table completely’ 

More than 500 NHS doctors, nurses and other workers have written to Donald Trump to ask him to take the health service off the table during UK-US trade talks.

In a letter sent to the US president as he travelled to the UK, the medics asked him to “rule out once and for all any increases to the cost of US drugs for our NHS and any trade deals that include NHS contracts”. 

More details here:

Adam Forrest3 December 2019 10:03

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