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15.42 7 Dec 2019


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The UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended his party's decision to share leaked documents on the NHS despite them being linked to a Russian interference campaign.

Mr Corbyn cited the classified documents detailing trade talks between US and UK officials as evidence of what he said were "secret talks" to sell off the UK's health service.

Reddit, the forum where the documents first emerged in October, has now suspended dozens of accounts over the leak, and says it believes it was "part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia".

Speaking today about the controversy, Mr Corbyn said: "This is such nonsense.

"When we released the documents, at no stage did the prime minister or anybody deny that those documents were real, deny the arguments that we put forward, and if there has been no discussion with the USA about access to our health markets, if all that is wrong, how come after a week they still haven't said that?

"The issues are that those documents show exactly what the British government was doing in discussions with Donald Trump's administration in the USA and also why the prime minister has refused to release the report on Russian interference in British politics, which he's been sitting on for a very long time.

"We obtained those documents, we believe those documents to be correct and nobody until yesterday had denied the correctness of those documents."

The party has not given any indication of where the documents came from.

Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson they need to "get to the bottom" of the leak.

Asked about his refusal to publish a report which looked at the potential of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign, Mr Johnson said: "I know of no evidence of successful interference by Russia in any democratic event in this country."

Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn clashed last night in the last televised debated before next week's General Election.

The two leaders went head to head in the BBC debate on issues ranging from the NHS to terrorism and antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Reporting by IRN

Main image: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford in a coffee shop in Barry while on the General Election campaign trail in Wales today. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

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