A leading ally of Donald Trump has claimed the US and UK are on course to have an ‘unprecedented partnership’ as both sides eye a mutually beneficial post-Brexit trade deal.
John Bolton, the US national security adviser, has delivered repeated boosts to Boris Johnson’s premiership during a two day visit to London.
Mr Bolton met with Mr Johnson yesterday and said afterwards that Mr Trump was a ‘leaver before there were leavers’, would ‘enthusiastically’ support a No Deal Brexit and promised the UK would be ‘first in line’ for a trade deal with the US once it has split from Brussels on October 31.
Today he renewed his love bombing of the Johnson administration as he tweeted a picture of him with the Prime Minister along with a glowing prediction about the future of the special relationship.
He said: ‘I had a great meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday.
‘We discussed trade, security, and opportunities to deepen our bilateral relationship after the UK leaves the EU.
‘The US and UK are on course for an unprecedented partnership.’
Mr Bolton today met with Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, in Downing Street after yesterday urging British officials to ‘get Brexit done’ as soon as possible to allow Washington and London to start formally working on new trading arrangements.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson responded by predicting a US-UK trade deal will be a ‘tough old haggle’ and insisted the most important agreement Britain needs to strike is with the EU.
The Prime Minister, speaking during a visit to a prison in Leeds, said he believed there were ‘all sorts of opportunities’ UK businesses could benefit from if the US market could be further opened up to them.
John Bolton met with Boris Johnson yesterday and today predicted the US and UK would go on to have an ‘unprecedented partnership’
Mr Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser pictured meeting Sajid Javid in Downing Street today, told journalists yesterday the US could pursue ‘sector-by-sector’ trade deals with Britain
Speaking following his meeting with Mr Johnson he said the US could pursue quick ‘sector-by-sector’ trade deals with Britain after Brexit and focus on areas like manufacturing and car-making where the two countries may agree.
Work on more complicated areas like finance would then be undertaken at a later date.
He said US trade negotiators believed such a sector-by-sector approach would be acceptable under World Trade Organisation rules.
Mr Johnson has made resetting and improving relations with the White House one of his top priorities since taking office last month.
A diplomatic row over leaked memos in Theresa May’s final days as PM soured the special relationship.
And in a sign that the new PM’s strategy is working, Mr Johnson and Mr Trump yesterday spoke to each other for the third time in less than three weeks ahead of their first face-to-face meeting at a G7 summit in France later this month.
Referring to comments made by Barack Obama ahead of the 2016 EU referendum, Mr Bolton said: ‘A prior American president said that if the United Kingdom left the European Union, it would go to the back of the queue on trade deals.
‘To be clear, in the Trump administration, Britain’s constantly at the front of the trade queue, or line as we say.’
Outlining his support for the UK leaving the EU, he added: ‘Both President Trump and I were leavers before there were leavers.’
Mr Bolton also lashed out at the EU as he claimed the bloc’s approach to democratic decisions it does not like is to try to ‘make the peasants vote again’.
Speaking following a meeting with Mr Johnson (left, at Downing Street on Monday hosting a reception at Downing Street to thank hospice staff for their hard work), Mr Bolton, who is a close ally of Donald Trump (right, at the White House last week), said the US would fully support Britain in the event of a No Deal Brexit
Mr Bolton stressed that the Trump administration wanted to see Britain’s ‘successful exit from the European Union’ by the current October 31 deadline so that attention could then immediately turn to improving trans-Atlantic trading ties.
He said the US would stand fully behind the UK if it splits from Brussels without striking an accord.
Judge agrees to fast track anti-No Deal court case
A judge today agreed to fast track a legal challenge designed to block Boris Johnson from being able to force through a No Deal Brexit by suspending Parliament.
The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to persuade the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that proroguing Parliament and sending MPs home to stop them thwarting No Deal would be ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.
This morning the court case was given the green light for a substantive hearing to be held on September 6.
Campaigners wanted proceedings to get underway as soon as possible because time is running out before the current Brexit Halloween deadline which is now only 79 days away.
‘If that is the decision of the British government, we will support it enthusiastically,’ he said.
‘That is the message I am bringing: We are with you.’
Mr Bolton said the US had been ‘ready to negotiate’ with Mrs May’s government, and said the US could do a trade deal with the UK ‘in pieces’.
He said: ‘We want to move very quickly. We wish we could have moved further along in this with the prior government.’
He added: ‘We were ready to negotiate. We are ready to negotiate now.’
Mr Bolton said the US could do a trade deal with the UK in a ‘modular fashion’ rather than the two sides having to spend years working on an overarching trade blueprint.
‘You could carve out some areas where it might be possible to reach a bilateral agreement very quickly, very straight forwardly,’ he said.
‘That would then lock that in and when the other areas that might be more difficult were concluded later, you could combine it in one overall agreement.
‘So the objective is either one document or a series of agreements that would be comprehensive.
‘In order to expedite things and enhance the possibility for increasing the trade and investments between the two countries, doing it in a sector-by-sector approach or some other approach that the trade negotiators might agree with, we are open to that.’
He added: ‘The idea of doing it in pieces rather than waiting for the whole thing is not unprecedented. I think here we see the importance and urgency of doing as much as we can agree on as rapidly as possible because of the impending October 31 exit date.’
Asked whether piecemeal trade agreements like this are allowed under WTO rules, Mr Bolton said: ‘Our trade negotiators seem to think it is.’
Mr Bolton said issues like Iran, China, and Huawei could be put off until after Brexit is resolved.
Boris believes Brussels will buckle on Brexit
Boris Johnson believes the European Union will cave in and offer a new Brexit deal at the eleventh hour because Ireland would be ‘f****d’ by a No Deal divorce, a Cabinet minister has claimed.
Mr Johnson and the EU are locked in a state of Brexit stalemate over the Irish border backstop with the Prime Minister adamant he will not agree to a deal which includes the controversial protocol.
But with the EU equally immovable in its insistence that the current divorce deal cannot be renegotiated and that inclusion of the backstop is non-negotiable a No Deal split appears a growing possibility.
However, many in the government are increasingly confident that Mr Johnson’s ‘do or die’ pledge to deliver Brexit with or without a deal by October 31 has hit home hard in Brussels.
They now believe the EU, faced with the prospect of a chaotic split on Halloween which would do significant damage to the Irish economy, will ultimately buckle.
One Cabinet minister told The Sun: ‘The EU will give us a better deal, because if they don’t Ireland is f****d. No Deal will destroy it.
‘No deal hurts us, the EU and Ireland – but it hurts Ireland the most.
‘A lot of Irish trade goes to Britain, and much of the rest comes through us to Europe.’
The Cabinet minister also claimed Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, had ‘overplayed his hand’ on Brexit and was now ‘in deep trouble’.
He said: ‘The message I wanted to convey on Iran, and on some other issues in which I include China, 5G, Huawei, that cluster of issues, is that the President and the US Government fully understands that in the next few days the UK Government has a singular focus on the Brexit issue, so that we are not hoping for anything on these broad and complex questions.
‘We just ask that, as issues come up, we resolve them individually and we reserve the time to have a larger conversation on some of these important issues at a moment that is really right for the new government. We just felt we owe them that.
‘Obviously we have views on these issues, I think that is appreciated by the new government. They said in particular that looking really from square one on the Huawei issue that they were very concerned about not having any compromise in the security of telecommunications in the 5G space.’
He added: ‘We don’t want to put you under pressure on these issues. There will be time enough to talk, that is really all we ask for.’
Mr Bolton said he was ‘pleased’ that Mr Johnson’s government had agreed to participate in Operation Sentinel to improve security in the Persian Gulf, saying this ‘reflects a change from the prior government’.
Mr Bolton also launched a vicious attack on the EU and said the UK’s decision to leave must be respected.
Mr Bolton said: ‘The fashion in the European Union when the people vote the wrong way from the way that the elites want to go, is to make the peasants vote again and again until they get it right.’
He said it is ‘hard to imagine’ people in the UK did not know ‘what was at stake’ when they voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Mr Bolton also said the UK’s decision to leave the EU would result in a stronger Nato and give the UK a more powerful international voice.
Johnson and Trump speak to each other for third time in three weeks
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump spoke to each other for the third time in three weeks yesterday as they discussed a growing appetite on both sides of the Atlantic for a post-Brexit free trade deal.
Downing Street revealed the pair had spoken again ahead of the first anticipated face to face meeting between the two leaders at a G7 summit in France later this month.
Both sides are keen for a reset in relations after a diplomatic row over leaked memos in Theresa May’s final days as PM soured the special relationship.
The frequency of contact between Mr Johnson and Mr Trump will be seen as a major win for the new British premier.
A free trade deal with the US is viewed by Brexiteers as one of the main benefits of the UK leaving the European Union.
The relationship between Mr Johnson and Mr Trump is noticeably friendlier than the one between Mr Trump and Mrs May at the end of her premiership.
The two men spoke immediately after Mr Johnson became PM at the end of July and again at the start of August.
His formed part of a central message that the United States will help cushion Britain’s exit from the EU with a free trade agreement that is being negotiated by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his British counterpart, Liz Truss, the Trade Secretary.
Mr Bolton also yesterday had lunch with Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill before heading to Downing Street to see Sir Edward Lister, Mr Johnson’s chief strategic adviser.
A senior Trump administration official, describing Mr Bolton’s message to British officials ahead of the start of the visit, said Mr Trump ‘wants to see a successful British exit from the European Union’ and that a trade deal would help Britain.
Mr Trump had wanted to work with Mrs May’s government on a trade deal but her government ‘didn’t want do it. This government does. We’re very happy about it,’ the official told reporters traveling with Mr Bolton.
Mr Trump believes that ‘when it comes to trade negotiations the EU is worse than China, only smaller,’ the official said.
As well as meeting with Mr Javid, Mr Bolton was also today due to meet with Ms Truss as well as Ben Wallace, the new Defence Secretary, and Brexit Secretary Steven Barclay.
The US diplomat is expected to urge officials from Mr Johnson’s newly formed government to align its policy on Iran more along the lines of the United States, which has pushed a much tougher line against Tehran.
Britain has so far backed the European Union in sticking with the Iranian nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but the seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz has put pressure on London to consider a more robust stance.
Royal Marines seized an Iranian vessel, which is suspected of smuggling oil to Syria, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4. This month, Britain joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels.
Mr Trump has also sought Britain’s help in getting tougher on the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei out of concern that its next-generation 5G technology represent a national security risk. Washington wants its allies, including Britain, to avoid using equipment from Huawei.
The National Security Council, then chaired by Mrs May, met to discuss Huawei in April and an initial decision was made to block Huawei from all critical parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to less sensitive parts.
But Mr Bolton hopes to find a more friendly audience on the topic from the Johnson government. A final decision has yet to be taken by the British government.
A Huawei spokesman said: ‘We are confident the UK will take an evidence-based approach. As Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has concluded, banning Huawei will not make the UK safer but simply reduce competition in the market. We remain committed to helping our partners in the UK develop secure, reliable 5G and full fibre networks.’