Johnson says he would end talks on US trade deal if NHS was put on the table

Tory leader plays down poll pointing to Conservative majority of almost 70 seats, insisting the election remains close

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before a Channel Four election debate on climate. “I’m always the last one to turn the heating on.” Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before a Channel Four election debate on climate. “I’m always the last one to turn the heating on.” Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor-WPA Pool/Getty Images

 

Boris Johnson has said he would shut down negotiations on a trade deal with the US if Donald Trump sought to put the National Health Service (NHS) on the table.

“You walk away. Literally, that would be it. There’s no point in continuing the conversation,” the British prime minister told ITV News.

Mr Johnson was speaking after Labour published leaked documents showing that US trade negotiators demanded full market access in any trade deal, and that British and US officials discussed changes to patents for drugs that could make them more expensive for the NHS.

He played down a major poll by YouGov pointing to a Conservative majority of almost 70 seats after next month’s election, insisting that the contest remained close.

Labour will on Friday woo voters in the midlands and the north of England, where dozens of its seats are at risk, by launching a manifesto for every region of England.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would invest in every part of England, bringing new jobs and industries, improving transport links and spending more on public services. 

“This election is a chance to bring our country back together. Britain is one of the most unequal countries in Europe but under Labour that will change. Labour will govern for the whole of Britain, handing wealth and power back to every community, and giving everyone a better life,” Mr McDonnell said.

Polls suggest that Labour is most vulnerable to the Conservatives in seats which voted Leave in 2016, while the Liberal Democrats are losing ground.

The Conservatives accused Labour of trying to distract voters from the party’s policy on Brexit, which Mr Johnson criticised as offering voters a second referendum with no real Brexit option.

“The Corbyn deal, when you dig into it, what is it? It’s actually remaining in the EU in all but name. I mean, he’s in the customs union, he’s in the single market. I mean, what is he doing? So the risk is that in a referendum next year you’re going to have two varieties of Remain. One worse than the other.”

Melting ice sculpture 

The Conservatives reported Channel Four to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom for bias after the broadcaster replaced Mr Johnson with a melting ice sculpture when he declined to take part in a leaders’ debate about climate change.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also stayed away and was represented by an ice sculpture, but the leaders of Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens took part.

The five leaders agreed on the target of 2030 for net zero carbon emissions, but differed on the details of how to reach it.

Asked about his personal resolution to reduce his impact on the climate, Mr Corbyn said he was already sparing in the use of energy.

“I’m always the last one to turn the heating on. In fact, we turned it on for the first time last week in my house, and that was a very low temperature anyway, and I turned it off pretty quickly after that. 

“I’m quite miserable actually on this basis because I don’t like to see the waste of energy that goes with it.”