The comments have led to a rush of denials from those Tory MPs keen to takeover Brexit negotiations
After holding talks with Theresa May on the second day of his state visit in London, Mr Trump claimed a “phenomenal” trade deal could be agreed, which included the NHS.
“I think everything with a trade deal is on the table,” he said.
“When you’re dealing in trade, everything is on the table – so NHS or anything else, a lot more than that, but everything will be on the table, absolutely.”
Downing Street accused of sexism for giving Melania Trump a ‘bespoke tea set‘
However Mrs May played down the claims, telling reporters: “But the point in making trade deals is of course that both sides negotiate and come to an agreement about what should or should not be in that trade deal for the future.”
Mr Trump’s comments confirm the worst fears for many sectors in the UK that the scope of any post-Brexit trade deal with the US will include demands for American companies running services.
It also suggested the US will want access to UK markets for its agri-food producers, which has sparked concerns Britain could be flooded with food products with lower environmental and animal welfare standards.
It came after US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson suggested over the weekend “all things that are traded will be on the table” including the health service.
The comments have led to a rush of denials from senior Tory MPs keen to takeover Brexit negotiations.
“I can’t conceive of any future prime minister, for any party, ever agreeing that we would allow NHS procurement to be part of trade talks, because the NHS as a publicly-run, publicly-owned institution is part of our DNA,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme.
“That’s not to say that pharmaceutical products, drugs, those kind of things which are freely traded between countries could not be discussed. But the ownership of the NHS, and NHS services, I can’t imagine that ever being part of a trade deal.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also chimed in to say “the NHS is not for sale”.
“Yes we’d love to make it cheaper to buy your life-saving pharmaceuticals,” he said. “But the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade talks.”
He took to the president’s proffered communication medium, Twitter, to tell Mr Trump what he thought of the idea.
Dear Mr President. The NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks – and never will be. Not on my watch.
15:01 – 4 Jun 2019
Twitter Ads information and privacy
7,325 people are talking about this
The Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth, went further describing US insurance firms gaining access to the health service as a “nightmare scenario”.
“If our NHS is taken over by US corporations, it will undermine it as a free, universal public service.”
Refusal to rule NHS out
However International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a key Brexit voice in Cabinet, refused to rule out the NHS from future trade discussions.
Asked if the NHS would up for grabs, he told LBC radio: “Well the government would determine – the government of the day of whatever party – would determine exactly what the regulations were around the NHS, what you would not have would be any interference with the NHS unless the government of the day wanted it to be so and that’s how it should be.
Donald Trump: ‘Jeremy Corbyn asked to meet me on UK state visit, but I said no’
“It should be that governments have the right to regulate their own public services in the national interest.”
One thing he was certain of was his banquet dining partner, Ivanka Trump, who he described as an “extremely intelligent, charming, pleasant and well-informed dinner partner”.
With many thanks to: inews and Benjamin Butterworth for the original story