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Boris Johnson to Pence: Britain Wants No Part of 'Chlorinated Chicken'

British PM tells US VP that the NHS is not on the table as far as trade deal is concerned
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2019 2:30 PM CDT
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks out 10 Downing Street to greet the US Vice President Mike Pence, in London, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

(Newser) – Boris Johnson is apparently a big fan of his "chlorinated chicken" line: On Thursday, the British prime minister told Mike Pence Britain is "not keen on that chlorinated chicken," a reference to the US practice of washing chicken carcasses in an attempt to cut down on pathogens including salmonella and E. coli, Politico reports. He was talking to the US vice president, who was at Downing Street as part of his European tour, about the fact that the National Health Service would not be for sale in a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the US. The full line, per the Daily Mirror: "The National Health Service is not on the table as far as our negotiations go. We are not keen on that chlorinated chicken." The role of the NHS in such a deal has been a topic of discussion since President Trump said back in June that the agency would "be on the table," then a day later reversed course and said he actually "would not consider [the NHS] part of trade."

Johnson added a dig at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn while speaking to Pence: "We have a gigantic chlorinated chicken of our own on the opposition benches," a callback to the similar line he used in Parliament Wednesday in reference to claims that Britain will be required to lower its food safety standards in order to get a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. Johnson also told Pence, who passed along a message that President Trump "wanted to convey that the US is willing and able to strike a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom," that it's important to him haggis can be sold freely in the US under any new deal, because currently Americans do not eat "British lamb or beef or haggis from Scotland." Also Thursday Johnson said, per the AP, that he'd "rather be dead in a ditch" than further delay Brexit; lawmakers rejected his call for a snap election and moved to delay Brexit Wednesday. (And on Thursday, Johnson's own brother quit Parliament.)

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