Boris Johnson and Donald Trump spoke to each other for the third time in three weeks on Monday, as they discussed a growing appetite on both sides of the Atlantic for a post-Brexit free trade deal.
Downing Street revealed that 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.
The White House subsequently confirmed that a call took place and Trump and John son spoke about meeting up.
‘President Donald J. Trump spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom earlier today to discuss a wide range of issues including trade and global security,’ the statement said. ‘The President expressed his appreciation for the United Kingdom’s steadfast partnership in addressing global challenges and looks forward to meeting with him personally in the near future.’
Donald Trump, pictured on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, and Boris Johnson have spoken three times since the latter became prime minister, including on Monday
The call came as John Bolton, the U.S. president’s national security adviser, told British officials that Trump wants to see Brexit delivered so Washington and London can get started on new, mutually beneficial trading arrangements.
Bolton is in London for two days of talks as he looks to boost transatlantic ties between the Trump administration and the new British government.
Both sides desire a reset in relations after a diplomatic row over leaked memos from the U.S. ambassador to London in Theresa May’s final days as PM soured the special relationship.
The U.S. president is expected to make clear that the US will help cushion Britain’s exit from the EU with a free trade agreement that is being worked on by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his UK counterpart, Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary.
The frequency of contact between the leaders and the U.S. president’s repeated suggestions that Johnson should be the next prime minister, have been a boost to the British politician who’s a conservative with similar views to Trump’s.
The relationship between the two has been friendlier than the one between Trump and May at the end of their relationship, when he assailed her in tweets over the leaks and her failure to get parliamentary approval for Brexit.
The U.S. president has lavished praise on Johnson since he won the keys to Downing Street, welcoming the former mayor of London’s election as Tory leader by predicting he would do a ‘great job’ and suggested he was ‘Britain Trump.’
The two men spoke immediately after Johnson became PM at the end of July and again at the start of August.
Monday’s call takes the tally to three conversations in less than three weeks.
All three phone calls are believed to have touched on the issues of trade and Brexit.
A Downing Street spokesman gave a similar readout of the call as the White House, saying, ‘The Prime Minister spoke to President Trump today.
‘They discussed global economic issues and trade, and the Prime Minister updated the President on Brexit.’
The White House statements have revealed that the pair is likely to have to have formal, bilateral talks at the G7 in Biarritz later this month.
A statement from the White House on Aug. 2 said the men had talked a day before about trade and 5G Internet.
‘The President reiterated his strong appreciation for the special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom and noted he is looking forward to meeting with the Prime Minister at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France later this month,’ White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said.
John Bolton met Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Washingon last week
John Bolton is in London for two days of talks as he looks to boost transatlantic ties between the Trump administration and that of Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) after the departure of Theresa May.
In London, Bolton was due to have lunch with Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill today before heading to Downing Street to see Sir Edward Lister, Johnson’s chief strategic adviser.
He is also due to see Sajid Javid, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.
On Tuesday, Bolton is to meet Truss as well as Ben Wallace, the new Defense Secretary in Britain and Brexit Secretary Steven Barclay.
A senior Trump administration official, describing Bolton’s message to British officials, said Trump ‘wants to see a successful British exit from the European Union’ and that a trade deal would help Britain.
Trump had wanted to work with the May 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.
Trump believes that ‘when it comes to trade negotiations the EU is worse than China, only smaller,’ the official said.
The U.S. diplomat is expected to urge officials from 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.
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.
Bolton hopes to find a more friendly audience on the topic from the Johnson government than he did from May. A final decision has yet to be taken by the British government on whether to block the Chinese telecommunications company.