Jeremy Corbyn continued to put the NHS at the heart of the election campaign as he declared he was “deeply suspicious” of Boris Johnson’s plans for the health service.
The Labour leader visited Swindon on Saturday and said he was concerned how the Conservative Party’s relationship with the US could affect Britain’s public services.
The party has said it will defend the NHS against a possible “sell out” to US corporations in a Donald Trump trade deal.
Speaking at Commonweal Sixth Form College, Mr Corbyn brushed off recent criticism from the US president, saying: “I’m much more concerned about the relationship of the Tory party with the US government and the US on our public services.
“And the deals they’ve been apparently prepared to do with US pharmaceutical companies for our NHS.
“I want our NHS to be ours, publicly owned and publicly run. And that’s exactly what will happen with a Labour government.”
Mr Trump has ruled out the NHS being part of negotiations for a post-Brexit trade deal, a key allegation in Labour’s campaign.
But Mr Corbyn said: “When Trump and the US ambassador and others have said repeatedly that any trade deal with Britain would require their access to the British healthcare market, as they call it, I’m deeply, deeply suspicious.”
His comments came after the Prime Minister failed to rule out expanding private provisioning in the NHS in future.
In an interview with BBC News on Friday, Mr Johnson was asked whether he would rule out further use of the private sector in the health service.
He did not directly answer the question, instead replying: “What I will tell you, well of course there are dentists and optometrists and so on who are providers to the NHS, of course, that’s how it works.
“But we are, we believe, I believe passionately in an NHS free at the point of use for everybody in this country.”
Mr Johnson also said he was “absolutely determined” to increase taxpayer funding of the health service and accused Labour of trying to divert the campaign narrative away from Brexit.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.