Union Chief Warns Trump 'Take Your Tiny Hands Off Our NHS'

Frances O'Grady also calls Boris Johnson a "lame duck" prime minister.

Donald Trump was warned “take your tiny hands off our NHS” as union leaders threatened to strike over any post-Brexit trade deal that includes the health service.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said the US president is eyeing a US-UK trade deal that would “hold our NHS to ransom” and “drive up prices for medicines”.

Speaking in Brighton at the TUC’s annual conference, she said: “After Brexit, he’s promised us a special relationship.

“Yeah. Like a dog and a lamppost have a special relationship.”

She added that the “whole” trade union movement would mobilise against a trade deal that exposes the NHS to American firms.

During his state visit to the UK in June, Trump raised fears that the health service could face further privatisation under a no-deal Brexit, telling reporters “everything is on the table”.

Following public outcry, he later rowed back on his remarks, telling ITV “I don’t see [the NHS] being on the table”.

O’Grady said: “The president owes favours to his friends in Big Pharma. They want healthcare in the UK turned into a free market, and he wants a deal that would drive up the prices of medicines.

“Not so much a trade deal. More a protection racket, with secret courts, where corporations hold our NHS to ransom.”

She added: “If it takes the last breath in our bodies, we will defend our precious health service.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect staff and patients. Donald Trump, take your tiny hands off our NHS.”

The union leader also turned her fire on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who last week said he would rather “die in a ditch” than request a Brexit extension beyond October 31 from Brussels.

It comes amid speculation that Johnson is prepared to ignore a new law passed by parliament which forces him to delay Brexit in the face of a no-deal crash-out.

She said: “As each day passes, it’s clear that Boris Johnson never wanted compromise. He never wanted a deal.

“He will do whatever it takes to get his own way, and he thinks he’s above the law.”

O’Grady added the PM “acts like he’s the clown prince of Downing Street,” but “the last thing we need is BoJo The Clown in charge”.

The prorogation has sparked widespread protests, and Johnson has also lost his majority in parliament after throwing 21 MPs out of the party for voting with Labour against no-deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, was accused of being “chicken” by Johnson as he refused to allow his MPs to back the general election the PM wants while the threat of no-deal at Halloween remains.

O’Grady said: “Let me remind Boris Johnson: Parliament doesn’t belong to you or your rich mates. Parliament belongs to the people.

“Now, Boris Johnson is used to getting his own way, and if people won’t do what he wants, he calls them chicken.

“That’s a bit rich. Coming from a lame duck.”

She added: “In any case, he’s the coward. He’s the one running scared of parliament, and he’s the one running up the white flag.

“He’s surrendered to the DUP. He’s surrendered to the Brexit Party. And now he’s ready to surrender our NHS to Donald Trump.”

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