This quote about selling NHS assets does not appear in the leaked UK-US trade documents

5th Dec 2019

Claim

The leaked UK-US trade documents contain the quote: “The USA reserves the right to withdraw all trade, aid and communication upon the non-compliance of the UK to allow open discussions about the sale of all assets within and partnered with the National Health Service”.

Conclusion

This quote is false. The documents do not contain this.

We’ve seen several posts on Facebook making claims about the recently leaked UK-US trade documents.

The posts claim that the documents contain the quote: “The USA reserves the right to withdraw all trade, aid and communication upon the non-compliance of the UK to allow open discussions about the sale of all assets within and partnered with the National Health Service”.

This is false. This quote does not appear in any of the six leaked documents

No such statement is issued by the United States negotiators, nor is the sale of any NHS assets discussed in this context. As we’ve written before, the documents show UK and US negotiators discussing a large number of trade-related issues, most of which are not linked to healthcare. They do cite US negotiators bringing up the issue of pharmaceutical patents and drug pricing, though they do not give an indication of the extent to which UK negotiators agreed with the US position. 

The first instance of this claim we could find was on Twitter from the 27 November, the same day the leaked documents received wide coverage in the media following a Labour party press conference. The person who tweeted it also mentioned a reference to the quote in “p238, sII, b in doc 4”, but no such reference exists and the longest of the six documents only contains 144 pages.