US President Joe Biden has poured cold water on the prospect of a free trade deal with Britain as he met with Boris Johnson for talks at the White House.
Sitting with the prime minister, Mr Biden said the pair would talk “a little bit” about business and said the issue would have to be “worked out”.
And he again warned Mr Johnson not to allow rows with Brussels over the implementation of Brexit to jeopardize peace in Northern Ireland by closing the border with the republic.
His remarks came shortly after Mr Johnson was forced to admit that his long-cherished dream of a fast post-Brexit trade deal with the US was dead.
Speaking before the Oval Office meeting, Mr Johnson acknowledged that the deal was low on the president’s list of priorities, telling reporters: “Joe has a lot of fish to fry.”
Asked by UK journalists about the possibility of an FTA, Mr Biden said: “On Brexit free trade … we’re going to talk a little bit about trade today and we have to work through it.”
Mr Biden said he feels “very strongly” that he does not want changes to the “Irish agreement” that result in “a closed border”.
Asked about the UK-US trade deal, the US president told reporters in the Oval Office: “Discussions are ongoing on what to do with the UK.
“But on protocol I feel very strongly on him. We spent a lot of time and effort, United States, it was a major bipartisan effort.
“And I absolutely would not like to see, nor might I add that many of my Republican colleagues would like to see, a change in the Irish Agreement, the end result of Ireland having a closed border.”
Mr Johnson responded: “At that point, Joe, we are totally one. No one wants to see anything that disrupts or unbalances the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.”
In more welcome comments for Mr Johnson, Biden reiterated his assurance that he would attend the UN COP26 climate change summit hosted by the PM in Glasgow in November, adding that the US would be “with the bells”.
The US President said: “As we look forward to hosting Cop26 in the UK, which I am really looking forward to attending in Glasgow in November.
“We’re going there with the bells, as they say.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /