Jeremy Corbyn has said the NHS will not be “for sale” to Donald Trump in any post-Brexit trade deal should he become prime minister after the general election.
Launching Labour’s campaign on Thursday morning in south London to cheers from party activists, Corbyn said he was not running “a presidential election”.
Asked about poor poll ratings as party leader, Corbyn said: “It’s not about me. It is not about any individual on this platform.”
Corbyn was flanked by his shadow cabinet on stage as he spoke, but pointedly refused to guarantee they would all be given cabinet jobs in his government.
The Labour leader said the blame for Boris Johnson’s failure to take the UK out of the EU on October 31 as he had promised was “his alone”.
Corbyn promised to negotiate a new exit agreement with the EU and put it to a vote in a second referendum “within six months” of taking office.
But he refused to be drawn on whether he would vote to leave with his deal or to Remain.
During a Q&A session with reporters at the event in Battersea, Corbyn told journalists to “just report what we say” - to loud applause from the audience.
Corbyn was also greeted with chants of “not for sale” from the crowd when said Labour would not let Trump “get his hands” on the NHS.
“Despite his [Boris Johnson’s] denials, the NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a one-sided Trump trade sell-out,” he said. “It’s not for sale, to him or anyone.”
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has rejected the accusation. “We love the NHS and we will always protect it,” he said. “How many times do I have to say this? The. NHS. Is. Not. For. Sale,” he tweeted.