Donald Trump was in the UK for a three-day visit this week and the biggest fear for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was that the US president would ruin his chances of staying in power ahead of next week’s UK general election.
Ahead of the meeting, Johnson was seeking to downplay his relationship with Trump at Wednesday’s NATO meeting, amid Labour’s accusations that a US-UK trade deal will lead to an National Health Service (NHS) sell-off and higher drug prices for Britons.
As the US president landed at London Stansted on Monday night and disembarked with his wife, Melania, Conservative strategists were hoping Trump would not add fuel to accusations that the US will seek to profit from the NHS as the price for any trade deal.
Johnson has made clear that he would not welcome any input from Trump into the election debate at such a sensitive time in the campaign, after Trump offered him his endorsement over the summer. The election is on Dec. 12. Trump has often talked about the special relationship between the US and UK, but many believe he is too interfering in British politics.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to the US president demanding assurances that any trade deal would exclude any reference to pharmaceuticals and accept the role of the UK’s drugs watchdog in setting the threshold for the cost-effectiveness of drugs for the NHS.
He also requested that the US drop the demand for “total market access” to UK public services and rule out any investor-state dispute settlement mechanism by which the UK government could be sued for protecting public services.