James O'Brien's immediate reaction to Jeremy Corbyn's claim of proof NHS is for sale

27 November 2019, 11:34 | Updated: 27 November 2019, 11:50

James O'Brien pointed to the UK's poor negotiating position after Brexit as a reason the government may need to put the NHS on the table during trade negotiations with the US.

The LBC presenter was responding to Jeremy Corbyn's release of 451 pages of documents which he says shows a record of months of trade talks in Washington and London.

James believes this should be a massive intervention - but in modern politics is less sure that it will make any difference.

Speaking with LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood, James said: "In normal circumstances, this would be huge. But we have somehow created a political context in which people claim that they like being lied to.

"So if this turns out to be evidence of a mistake or a mis-step or a downright calumny committed by the Prime Minister, then I'm not persuaded of convinced any more it can be successfully turned into political capital."

James O'Brien responded to Jeremy Corbyn's NHS claims
James O'Brien responded to Jeremy Corbyn's NHS claims. Picture: PA / LBC

Referring to the claim by the Labour leader, James commented: "While there might be a difference between what the Americans might be asking for and what we will give them, I don't think you need to be a fully-paid-up member of the anti-Boris Johnson club to recognise that the necessity or desperation to have something they can describe as a trade deal increases exponentially with every syllable of Brexit rhetoric.

"We're not negotiating from a position of great strength, are we?

"It's not hard to see how major concessions would be made on the British side, secure in the knowledge that if the British press are going to report re-heating Theresa May's rejected Withdrawal Agreement as some sort of magnificent victory, then he can be fairly confident that huge swathes of the British media will report the worst trade deal in history as yet another mark of Boris Johnson's genius."

Theo summed up James's thoughts: "So you're saying that if Boris Johnson wants to secure a trade deal with the United States, he'd be willing to give things away."

The Conservatives have repeatedly denied Labour's claims. Mr Johnson has said: “It is completely untrue. There are no circumstances whatever in which this government or any Conservative government will put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiation. Our NHS will never be for sale.” 

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