Tory Ministers have warned Brexit Secretary David Davis that Britain’s hopes of getting a good US trade deal could be wrecked by the growing crisis surrounding Donald Trump.
They fear that if, as some experts predict, Trump is forced to resign or fails to retain the presidency in the 2020 US election, it could make a profitable Anglo-US Brexit trade deal impossible.
Trump has described his own victory last year as ‘Brexit plus’ and tweeted last year he was ‘working on a big and exciting trade deal with UK’.
Tory Ministers have warned Brexit Secretary David Davis that Britain’s hopes of getting a good US trade deal could be wrecked by the growing crisis surrounding Donald Trump
It bolstered hopes in Theresa May’s Government that Trump would agree a successful and – equally important – swift trade deal, countering fears that the economy will ‘fall off a cliff’ when Britain leaves the EU in 2019.
One Minister claimed Mr Davis had been ‘made aware’ of the risk to Britain of having to negotiate a ‘Trump-free Brexit.’
‘Davis knows Trump is our best hope of getting a first-rate trade deal,’ said the Minister. ‘We need to make as much progress with the US as we can while he is still there. If he goes it will be a different story.’
The warning of the effect of a ‘Trump-free trade deal’ came as it emerged Mr Davis is planning a visit to the US.
He plans to make a speech there about ‘Britain’s place in the world’ to promote a Brexit trade deal.
According to some sources, the move risks upsetting his fellow Brexit Ministers, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, both of whose jobs focus on wide-ranging overseas diplomacy, unlike Mr Davis’s, who is in charge of Brussels talks.
Mr Davis is now favourite among grassroots Tories to succeed Mrs May if she is forced to stand down as a result of the botched snap Election.
Trump has described his own victory last year as ‘Brexit plus’ and tweeted last year he was ‘working on a big and exciting trade deal with UK’. Pictured: David Davis
The son of a single mother and raised in a council house, Right-wing ex-SAS Reservist Mr Davis has shrugged off his ‘permanent Tory rebel’ tag and forged a powerful alliance with ‘Remainer’ Chancellor Philip Hammond.
By contrast, the ratings of Johnson and Fox have fallen. Out-of-sorts former ‘Tory darling’ Johnson has had to deny a spate of rumours he is about to resign and Fox is seen as ‘lightweight’ by fellow Cabinet Ministers.
Hopes of an Anglo-US trade deal took another knock yesterday after one of Mr Fox’s US allies, ex-White House official Pippa Malmgren, said Trump was ‘hostile to trade’ – and Britain would fare no better if he was replaced by vice President Mike Pence.
Ms Malmgren, once described by Fox as his ‘political soulmate’, said embattled Trump, rocked by feuding among his inner circle, was ‘less and less influential every day’.
‘Trumpism’ could last more than four more years, but Trump himself may not,’ she said.
Mr Davis will this week seek to put fresh pressure on EU negotiators by unveiling details of Britain’s plan to end the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and take back control of UK laws.
The Brexit Secretary will publish a fresh wave of ‘position papers’ revealing the Government’s negotiating stance on the ECJ, data protection and detailed trade rules.
Mr Davis said: ‘This week, we set out more detail of the future relationship we want with the EU, putting forward imaginative and creative solutions to build a deep and special partnership with our closest neighbours and allies.’