Boris Johnson must release ‘secret’ Trump trade files before general election

Boris Johnson must release ‘secret’ Trump trade files before general election

Date: 14 November 2019
Campaigns: Trade

  • Public has a right to know what dozens of pages of blacked out documents reveal about US-UK trade talks, say campaigners

  • Legal challenge over full release will not be heard until after polling day

Campaign group Global Justice Now today called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order the release of multiple documents, dubbed the ‘Trump Trade Files’, relating to trade talks between the UK government and the Trump administration, in advance of the general election on 12 December, so that the electorate can be properly informed on the government’s plans for post-Brexit trade.

The documents are the records of trade talks that have taken place between US and UK government officials since 2017. Six sets of meetings have taken place, most recently in London in July 2019.

The campaigners have placed heavily redacted versions of the documents online.(1) They were obtained following a Freedom of Information request relating to the minutes, agendas and attendees of the first two meetings. The request was initially refused, then on appeal, the Department for International Trade released pages of blacked out documents. A legal challenge is due to be heard at the Information Rights Tribunal on 12 and 13 December.(2)

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said:
“The UK government has gone to astonishing lengths to keep its plans for a Trump trade deal secret from the British public, and the absurd sight of page after page of blacked out documents is a shocking display of their disregard for democratic accountability. Trade deals today are massive agreements that affect every aspect of our society, and it is unacceptable that Boris Johnson’s government refuses to tell the public what it’s putting on the table. Empty words are not enough – the government should be judged by its actions. These documents could reveal exactly what our government has already put on the table in trade talks. The public has every right to know what they contain before going to the polls on 12 December.”

The call follows a recent poll showing that 45% of people think Boris Johnson is lying when he says the NHS is not for sale and a further 24% aren’t sure.(3) It also follows leaks to Channel 4’s Dispatches which revealed that medicine prices for the NHS have been discussed at every single one of the US-UK working group meetings.(4)

Read our full media briefing on the US-UK trade working group.

Stop the toxic trade deal with Trump


1. The redacted documents can be viewed below and downloaded at:

First working group, 24-25 July 2017

Second working group, 13-14 November 2017

2. The appeal has been filed with the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber), case number EA/2019/0154.

3. Brexit: Poll reveals majority believe lying Boris Johnson will sell off NHS services to US, 27 October 2019, 

4. Trump’s Plan For The NHS: Channel 4 Dispatches, 29 October 2019,