Saturday, 31 Oct 2020

Trump write-off? UK Government in regular contact with Biden as election looms, says MP

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Mr Ellwood, who is currently chairman of Parliament’s Defence Committee, made his remarks after reports suggesting ministers had been told to court Mr Biden, who currently holds a lead of 9.8 percent, according to the rolling average of polls compiled by the Real Clear Politics website. Mr Trump spent last weekend in hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and has refused to participate in a debate scheduled for Thursday after it was switched to a virtual format for safety reasons.

He has since proclaimed himself “immune”, and “cleared to return to the campaign trail”.

However, there is no indication he has yet tested negative for the disease.

Bournemouth West MP Mr Ellwood, who has dual British/US citizenship, having been born in New York, said it was clear the Government would not be putting all its eggs in one basket.

He told Express.co.uk: “It would be entirely wrong to assume UK relationships tilt blindly towards whoever occupies the White House without consideration to retaining relationships with the Party in opposition.

“There are strong bonds on both sides of the aisle that allows the Special Relationship to endure regardless of any election outcome.”

Mr Ellwood, who knows former Democratic nominee and Secretary of State John Kerry well, and who has also worked with Republican Senator Tom Cotton, added: “The established trust, shared values and commitment to international rule of law sit above domestic partisan ideology.

“With the world becoming more dangerous and more complex, fuelled by the distraction of pandemic and an ever-unpredictable China – the UK and US have an obligation to work ever more closely and reunite the West which over the last decade has lost its vision and sense of purpose.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Mr Trump last week, wishing him well for the election.

However, one senior Tory told The Times: “They’re writing off Trump in No 10 now.”

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Speaking to The Times last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said although he had never met former Vice-President Mr Biden, he had good relationships with senior Democrats and was confident the election result would not affect UK-US relations.

He added: “The strength of the friendship between Britain and the US.

“I think is in great shape whatever the outcome in November.”

Nevertheless, Mr Biden, who has Irish roots on his mother’s side, caused a stir last month when he tweeted: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Mr Biden may also remember a column written by Mr Johnson for The Sun in 2016, in which he considered then-President Barack Obama’s decision to remove a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House.

Mr Johnson wrote: “Some said it was a snub to Britain.

“Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”

The US Presidential election takes place on November 3.

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