Boris Johnson's government accused of 'lying' and 'xenophobia' after claiming EU citizens have 'preferential' access to NHS
- Cabinet minister Michael Gove is accused of "lying" after he claimed EU citizens have "preferential access" to NHS care
- Nicolas Hatton, the co-founder of the3million, an EU citizens' rights group, said Gove's claims drew on "pure propaganda from the far-right."
- EU citizens do not receive preferential access to the NHS and are not automatically entitled to free healthcare treatment until they pay tax unless they are students.
- Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott accused Gove of "bashing and blaming migrants".
- For more visit Business Insider South Africa.
LONDON - Boris Johnson's government has been accused of "lying" after cabinet minister Michael Gove claimed that EU citizens have "preferential access" to NHS care, with campaign groups claiming he drew on "far-right" propaganda to win support in the general election.
Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, claimed in a newspaper article on Sunday that EU citizens had "preferential access to free NHS care … without paying in."
EU citizens do not receive preferential access to the NHS and are not automatically entitled to free healthcare treatment until they pay tax unless they are students.
Nicolas Hatton, founder of the 3million, which campaigns for EU citizens' rights, said Gove's remarks drew on "propaganda from the far right".
"Pretending to ignore EU law on reciprocal healthcare arrangement to claim EU citizens have preferential treatment and create a pressure on the NHS is pure propaganda from the far right," he told Business Insider.
"Brits in Europe have the same rights and nearly 10% of doctors are EU citizens so we are not the problem, we are the solution."
EU free movement rules and reciprocal health arrangements have allowed 1.2 million British nationals to settle elsewhere in Europe.
Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP, told the Guardian: "Gove is lying and I think they are going to continue lying for the campaign. The line that Gove used about 'paying into' the NHS is really an old-style racist trope and is designed to target Labour marginals where the vote is about leave or remain.
Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott accused Gove of "bashing and blaming migrants."
In his article for the Mail on Sunday, Gove said: "It's unfair that people coming from European countries can access free NHS care without paying in while others make significant contributions … It's not right that people from Bulgaria and Slovenia can come here without any controls and have automatic rights that people from Bangladesh and Singapore do not."
Abbott tweeted: "Michael Gove is completely wrong to say people from EU are accessing the NHS without 'paying in'. EU workers pay taxes. The NHS is not a contributory system."
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