JEREMY CORBYN was left red faced when a reporter confronted him over claims he made about Boris Johnson and the NHS in a speech today.
The Labour leader warned a post-Brexit trade deal with the US could cost the NHS £500m a week during a speech in Harlow ahead of the General Election on December 12. But Channel 4 political correspondent Paul McNamara questioned whether Mr Corbyn was “misleading voters” with his comments.
During his speech, the Labour leader said of the Prime Minister: “He stood in front of a bus in 2016 and promised £350m a week for the NHS.
“Now we find out that £500m a week could be taken out of the NHS and handed to big drugs companies under his plans for a sellout trade deal with Donald Trump and the USA.”
As Mr Corbyn took questions, the Channel 4 reporter asked: “You once said that Boris Johnson’s £350m on the side of a bus wasn’t just misleading it was downright dishonest.
“You’ve just said that £500m can be taken out of the NHS and handed to big drugs companies.
“That’s a figure that comes from a report based on if every medicine in the UK cost the same as in the US after a trade deal.
“The report also said they’re crude estimates and not precise analysis. Aren’t you misleading voters with your £500m?”
Mr Corbyn replied: “Our figure of £500m comes from an analysis of figures from the World Health Organisation of drug prices and what we know of the discussions that have taken place between the NHS and US drug companies.
“And I believe it to be an accurate and a credible figure otherwise I wouldn’t be quoting it.
“I’m very happy for anyone else to analyse it and tell me if I’ve understated the case and it’s actually worse than that.”
Mr Corbyn’s claims about the NHS come despite Mr Johnson and US President Donald Trump insisting the health service will not be in the table in any post-Brexit trade deal.
In his speech in Essex, the Labour leader also accused the Prime Minister to trying to “hijack Brexit” to “sell out” the NHS and working people.
He said: “In this election, Boris Johnson is trying to hijack Brexit to sell out our National Health Service and the working people of this country.
“He is trying to cash in the votes of millions who voted to leave the EU, by buying political power for himself and then sell them out with another dose of austerity in the future…
“It’s time to call him out.”
At one point, Mr Corbyn’s supporters began chanting “not for sale”.
On Brexit, the veteran left-winger repeated his pledge to strike a new Brexit deal within three months of taking power before putting it to a second referendum in six months.
Mr Corbyn said: “Because this has involved the whole country from the start, it can’t now be left to politicians.
“To finally get this sorted and move forward we need the people to sign on the dotted line.
“And we will immediately carry out your decision, so Britain can get beyond Brexit.”
Concluding his speech, Mr Corbyn said: “Let’s get Brexit sorted within six months and build a fairer country that truly cares for all.
“Where wealth and power are shared, for the many, not the few.
“This election is a once-in-a-generation chance. The future is ours to make, together. It’s time for real change.”