Donald Trump U-turns on claim NHS would be 'on the table' in UK-US trade deal
Donald Trump has performed a dramatic U-turn on his claim that the National Health Service must be "on the table" in negotiations on a trade deal between the UK and America.
The US president sparked a furious backlash from politicians on Tuesday by insisting the NHS would be up for grabs in any negotiations after Brexit.
Standing alongside Theresa May at a press conference in the Foreign Office, President Trump said: "I think everything with the trade deal is on the table. When you’re dealing in trade everything’s on the table, so NHS or anything else or a lot more than that but everything will be on the table, absolutely."
But within hours, President Trump rowed back on his comments in an interview with Piers Morgan for ITV's Good Morning Britain.
Pressed on what he had said about the NHS, the controversial commander-in-chief said: "I don’t see it being on the table. Somebody asked me a question today and I say everything is up for negotiation, because everything is.
"But I don’t see that as being, that's something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade."
The about-turn came amid cross-party fury at his initial remarks, with Tory leadership candidates, Labour and the Lib Dems all lining up to insist the health service must not be included in any trade talks.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Dear Mr President. The NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks - and never will be. Not on my watch."
Meanwhile Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed the comments showed Conservative and Brexit Party plans for a "disaster capitalism" trade deal.
"They all need to understand: our NHS is not for sale," he added.
Liberal Democrat leadership contender Sir Ed Davey said: "With friends like this, who needs enemies? Those who called for Brexit on the basis it would mean better trade deals for the UK should hang their heads in shame."
'NO PROBLEM' TALKING TO CORBYN
Elsewhere in his Good Morning Britain interview, President Trump - who will on Wednesday join Mrs May in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings - said he would have "no problem" in sitting down for trade talks with Mr Corbyn.
The US commander-in-chief on Tuesday branded Jeremy Corbyn a "negative force" and revealed he had turned down the offer of a meeting with the Labour leader.
Mr Corbyn meanwhile accused President Trump of creating a "sense of hate" in a furious attack at a rally in Trafalgar Square.
But asked whether he could do a deal with the Labour leader, President Trump said: "It’s always possible. Anything is possible."
He added: "I don’t know him. He wanted to meet, it was very tough to meet and probably inappropriate... to be honest with you.
"A lot of things are happening right now with respect to our country and your country, my country and let’s call the almost the same because I feel that way, it’s really a tremendous relationship.
"So, I didn’t think it was appropriate to meet him, but I would. I certainly would have no problem with it."