Sunday, 29 Nov 2020

Brexit Britain ‘at the mercy’ of US election as Trump could hand Boris ‘second chance’

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Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the independent Bow Group think-tank, has warned the UK’s post-Brexit plans are now “at the mercy” of the outcome of the US election between Mr Trump and his rival Joe Biden on November 3. Mr Harris-Quinney, who has worked on foreign policy in both the UK and European Parliaments, has described Mr Trump as the “most pro-British President the US has ever had”.

The international politics expert insisted it is “unforgivable” the Westminster Government has not sealed a US trade deal during his time in the White House.

The US President, who is currently trailing in many national opinion polls, has been a constant champion of Brexit and has previously promised a “very big trade deal – bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Harris-Quinney said: “The Conservative government of the past four years has failed to make any significant progress towards signing a trade deal with the US.

“Trump is probably the most pro-British President the US has ever had, he wanted a trade deal done and wanted to support Britain throughout the Brexit process.

“It is unforgivable that our Government failed to achieve this. As a result, we are now at the mercy of the US election.”

Mr Biden, who served as vice-president under Barack Obama between 2008-2016, has previously voiced his opposition to Brexit and revealed if he was British he would have voted to remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

Prior to the historic vote, the Obama-administration warned the UK would at the “back of the queue” in future trade talks with the US if the British people voted to leave the EU.

Mr Trump defied the pollsters by defeating Hiliary Clinton in 2016 and a repeat performance would give the Prime Minister a “second chance” to strike a trade deal, according to Mr Harris-Quinney.

He said: “It would be a reprieve for Britain and a second chance to do what we should have done in Trump’s first term.

“Fear of offending liberal metropolitan sensibilities have persuaded the Conservatives to shy away from a President who has bent over backwards to support Britain, when the realpolitik of Britain in a post-Brexit world required them to do so.

“A favourable trade deal with the US is likely to be the difference between Brexit being a success or failure in the short term.”

Mr Harris-Quinney, who has also advised the US Government on foreign policy, has described the failure to agree a Brexit deal with Mr Trump as one of worst mistakes since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

He added: “Failing to seal it in Trump’s first term may be the greatest foreign policy error since the Iraq war, and potentially leaves Britain dangerously isolated in a world turning against us, all because government members of the day didn’t want to lose face at dinner parties.”

Last week, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss intensified the fifth round of US trade talks with her Washington counterpart.

The Department for International Trade said there would be 40 negotiating sessions over the next two weeks.

Speaking on Thursday at Chatham House, Ms Truss warned UK food standards “must not be undermined” and insisted the NHS remains “off the table”.

The cabinet secretary also criticised the “America First” policy and said the UK “we will not be pulling up the drawbridge in an autarkic Britain First approach”.

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