PM: We must find source of UK-US trade document leak

Jeremy Corbyn holds up the leaked documents
eremy Corbyn holds up the leaked documents at a press conference on 27 November

Boris Johnson has said an investigation is needed into the source of leaked documents on UK-US trade negotiations posted on Reddit.

Labour says the documents show the NHS would be at risk under a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

On Friday, forum website Reddit said unredacted documents were uploaded as “part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia”.

It has suspended 61 accounts that showed a “pattern of coordination”.

The government said it was looking into the matter with help from the National Cyber Security Centre.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Johnson said “we do need to get to the bottom” of the leak but said he had seen “no evidence of any successful interference by Russia in any democratic event in this country”.

The Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said this all pointed towards foreign involvement: “I understand from what was being put on that website, those who seem to know about these things say that it seems to have all the hallmarks of some form of interference.”

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald reiterated his call for Mr Johnson to release an intelligence report into Russian covert actions in the UK, which No 10 has been accused of suppressing until after the election.

Advanced negotiations

In a post on its site, Reddit did not did not provide any further details about the evidence behind its conclusions, nor did it identify any specific individuals.

The BBC has approached the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson but they have yet to comment.

The contents of the documents have played a significant part in Labour’s election message on the NHS, after Mr Corbyn highlighted them at a press conference on 27 November.

The Labour leader said the papers were evidence that the UK government was in advanced stages of negotiations with the US to open up the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies.

Labour have not said where they obtained their copy of the documents.

A version of the documents, heavily redacted, were also produced by Mr Corbyn at an earlier leader debate on 19 November.

At the time, Labour said these were the result of a Freedom of Information request by campaign group Global Justice Now.

The dossier was posted on Reddit more than a month prior to Mr Corbyn’s announcement, prompting questions about how they got there – and why few people seemed to notice them before.

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