UK opposition accuses Boris Johnson of US-style plan to deregulate | News | DW | 05.11.2019
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UK opposition accuses Boris Johnson of US-style plan to deregulate

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of using Brexit to privatize the UK's free health care service. His comments come as the political parties kick off their election campaigns.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of wanting to "hijack Brexit" and use it as an opportunity to deregulate UK markets. 

As election campaigns got underway, Corbyn said his rival wanted to "unleash Thatcherism on steroids" once the country was no longer bound by EU trade treaties and regulations.

Read more: Will the UK's snap election finally resolve Brexit?

Speaking in Harrow, London, Corbyn also said that the UK's free health care service was "not for sale." He said that Johnson wanted to strike a trade deal with US President Donald Trump to sell off parts of the UK's National Health Service, or make it easier for US pharmaceutical firms and medical companies to sell into the UK health care market.

Jeremy Corbyn speaks in Harrow in front of a red backdrop

Jeremy Corbyn listens to a crowd chanting "Not for sale" in reference to the UK's free health care service

"They want a race to the bottom in standards and protections. They want to move us towards a more deregulated American model of how to run the economy," Corbyn said.

The Conservative Party has continually rebuked this claim; however, leaked documents published by UK news site The Guardian on Tuesday advise lawmakers against pledging that a trade deal on the NHS will not be signed.

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How have the other parties started their campaigns?

The UK's other main political parties' campaigns got underway on Tuesday as well.

The right-of-center Conservative Party's campaign got off to a bumpy start as one of its ministers and leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, was forced to apologize on Tuesday after saying residents who died in a tragic tower block blaze should have used "common sense."

A smiling Jacob Rees-Mogg, wearing a polka-dot tie

Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested residents who died in a tower-block blaze lacked common sense

Up until now the party's leader, Johnson, has yet to show his face on the campaign trail.

The Liberal Democrats' leader, Jo Swinson, kicked off her party's campaign telling UK state broadcaster BBC that her party should be included in the leaders' television debates on ITVSwinson said her party would represent the voices of those who wanted to remain in the EU.

Jo Swinson, in a mauve dress, stands in the House of Commons with her hands clasped

Jo Swinson said her voice should be included in UK television leadership debates

Parliament held its last session on Tuesday, after UK lawmakers voted to hold an election on December 12 — an unusual time for elections to take place in the UK— in a bid to break the stalemate over Brexit.

What is Thatcherism?

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was the UK's prime minister from 1979 -1990

Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative Party prime minister. Her pursuit of particularly hard and relentless deregulation and privatization policies became known as Thatcherism.

Thatcher held a famous speech at Fontainbleau in 1984 demanding a reversal of a European Council budget from France and Germany, but she was a key supporter of the European single market.

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kmm/rc (Reuters/AP)

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