Nigel Farage has revealed that the Brexit Party will not contest any of 2017’s 317 Tory seats in the upcoming election. Instead, Farage said the party will put its “total effort” into Labour-held areas.
On Twitter, Jeremy Corbyn pointed to who and what he believes would be the real winners and losers of any successful Brexit Party/Tory “pact”. His comments, which centre on one of the election’s most important issues, don’t bode well for Boris Johnson.
The Labour leader tweeted:
One week ago Donald Trump told Nigel Farage to make a pact with Boris Johnson.
Today, Trump got his wish.
This Trump alliance is Thatcherism on steroids and could send £500 million a week from our NHS to big drugs companies. It must be stopped.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 11, 2019
Corbyn is referring to comments the US president made on 4 November. Donald Trump said what he would “like to see is for Nigel and Boris to come together”. Now, Farage has decided not to stand Brexit Party candidates in areas held by Conservative MPs, signalling that he’s trying to help Johnson’s party out. So Corbyn rightly says the US president “got his wish”.
Corbyn also argues that the NHS could lose big from this “Trump alliance” (i.e. Farage, Johnson, and the US president). Because he says the health service could “send £500 million a week” to pharmaceutical companies as a result.
Channel 4‘s Dispatches recently revealed that UK and US officials have discussed “drug pricing” in six meetings on a post-Brexit trade deal. The programme also highlighted that there have been “secret meetings between US drugs firms and British civil servants” which included discussion of “price caps”.
This could be a pivotal issue in any UK/US trade deal. Because the NHS essentially caps the prices it will pay for drugs based on assessments made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The price it negotiates with companies is often lower than the market rate. Those NHS prices, meanwhile, are also used as a baseline by other countries. So numerous countries avoid paying market rates as a result of the NHS system.
Trump isn’t happy with this set up, however. So US negotiators have said they want “non-discriminatory” access to the UK market in any deal. And the US has form on the issue. Its trade agreement with South Korea stipulates that drug prices should be “based on competitive market-derived prices”.
The £500m figure that Corbyn cited comes from an academic report which gave the “worst case scenario” for price increases based on spending on drugs in the US.
Johnson’s government has made numerous pledges on the NHS since its inception. Clearly, it understands what an important issue access to healthcare is to the majority of Britons. On drug pricing, in response to the Dispatches revelations, it said:
The NHS is not, and never will be, for sale to the private sector, whether overseas or domestic… The sustainability of the NHS is an absolute priority for the government. We could not agree to any proposals on medicines pricing or access that would put NHS finances at risk or reduce clinician and patient choice.
But since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, they have systematically brought the NHS to its knees. The party introduced legislation in 2012 that has allowed private companies to scoop up the most profitable parts of our health system, and be paid for it handsomely with our taxes. It has also starved the NHS of adequate funds, forcing numerous trusts into financial trouble, and overseen a major staffing crisis.
In short, the Conservatives are on very shaky ground when it comes to people trusting it with the NHS. And hearing that the party is part of a “Trump alliance” that could see big pharma rinse the health service for eye-watering sums will do nothing to improve its reputation.
Featured image via Sky News/YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?