Sunday, 6 Dec 2020

Boris Johnson: ‘My close ties with Trump won’t affect UK-US bond’

Britain and the US will work together to support democracy and combat climate change, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

He categorically denied his close ties to President Donald Trump would hurt the ‘special relationship’ between the two allies once President-elect Joe Biden takes office and he congratulated both him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory.

He said the result meant the UK-US “common global perspective” would be vital to shore up a rules-based global order that is under threat.

And he added: “The United States is our closest and most important ally… and that’s been the case under president after president, prime minister after prime minister. It won’t change.”

Speaking on Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also echoed his comments saying America would have “no more dependable friend” than the UK.

He said he was “excited” to be collaborating with the new administration in areas such as climate change, tackling coronavirus and counter-terrorism.

He too, dismissed the idea there may be challenges with the new relationship following claims from some US commentators that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s previous comments on Barack Obama’s Kenyan heritage had damaged ties with the Democrats.

Mr Raab said it was always possible to “pick a snippet” from social media or political activists but that evidence from his work with the British Embassy in Washington on the ground, talking to Congressional leaders, caucus leaders and to President-elect Biden over past months proved otherwise.

“I know there will always be points of tension in any relationship – particularly the deepest and most profound ones – but the bedrock, the depth and the range of things we do together, and the things that President-elect Biden wants to achieve internationally… these are all things, particularly with our G7 presidency next year and our hosting of COP 26 [climate conference], we will have huge amounts which we can cooperate on.”

He added: “I am excited about working with the new administration and am confident the relationship between the UK and the US will thrive in the weeks and months ahead.”

But his reassurances came just moments after former chancellor Sajid Javid took a rather more outspoken swipe at US politics, labelling Donald Trump “adolescent” and saying he had done “huge amounts to damage democracy”.

He called for people around the president to “tell him to stop” his persistent claims of voter fraud.

“The US is a beacon of democracy across the world, as we are, and he’s still doing damage because he hasn’t stopped,” Mr Javid said.

“We are privileged to have democracy, the Americans are privileged to have it. There are so many people around the world that yearn for democracy.

“And the behaviour of the US president is frankly adolescent behaviour.”

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Asked if the ‘best man won’ the election, Mr Javid said: “I think so, yes. I do think it’s the right outcome not just for the US, that’s a decision of course for the US people, but it’s the best outcome for the UK as well.

“I also think no matter what your politics, it will be just good for us all to have some civility, some integrity and seriousness back in the White House.”

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