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Boris dumps Trump: PM refers to 'previous president' and praises Biden

Boris dumps Trump: PM refers to the ‘previous president’ as he welcomes a ‘refreshing’ discussion with Joe Biden about climate change and Nato at Prime Minister’s Questions

  • Mr Johnson told PMQs he continues to have a strong relationship with Mr Trump
  • But he played up yesterday’s phone call with Democrat president-elect 
  • Now ‘many areas’ where the UK and US would be ‘able to make common cause’ 

Boris Johnson distanced himself from Donald Trump’s attempts to cling on to power in the US today as he branded him the ‘previous president’. 

In a comment that suggests he believes Mr Trump should cede to his victorious opponent, the Prime Minister praised a ‘refreshing’ discussion he had with president-elect Joe Biden last night.

Mr Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions he continues to have a strong relationship with Mr Trump, who has refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power while making baseless allegations of voter fraud, as he was quizzed on the political turmoil in Washington. 

But he played up yesterday afternoon’s phone call with the Democrat, focussing on their shared values of standing up for Nato and tackling the climate crisis, two areas Mr Trump rode roughshod over.

He said there were ‘many areas’ where the UK and US would now be ‘able to make common cause’, as he was grilled at Prime Minister’s Questions. 

‘I had and have a good relationship with the previous president, I do not resile from that – it is in the duty of all British prime ministers to have a good relationship with the White House,’ he said in response to a question from Labour’s Angela Eagle.

‘But I am delighted to find the many areas in which the incoming Biden/Harris administration is able to make common cause with us.

‘In particular it was extremely exciting to talk to president-elect Biden about what he wants to do with the COP26 summit next year in which, as you know, the UK is leading the world in driving down carbon emissions and tackling climate change.’ 

Downing Street this afternoon said Mr Johnson had yet to speak to Mr Trump following his defeat. 

In a comment that suggests he believes Mr Trump should cede to his victorious opponent, the Prime Minister praised a ‘refreshing’ discussion he had with president-elect Joe Biden

Mr Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions he continues to have a strong relationship with Mr Trump, who has refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power while making baseless allegations of voter fraud, as he was quizzed on the political turmoil in Washington

But he played up yesterday afternoon’s phone call with the Democrat, focussing on their shared values of standing up for Nato and tackling the climate crisis, two areas Mr Trump rode roughshod over

The Prime Minister was among the first world leaders to secure a call with Mr Biden since his victory over Mr Trump.

Mr Biden’s transition team said he expressed his desire to ‘strengthen the special relationship’ and ‘reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement’, in a warning over Brexit.

He has in the past warned that a trade deal with the US is ‘contingent’ on there being no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland amid unease over the Prime Minister’s Brexit legislation.

The Democrat also said that the peace process must not ‘become a casualty of Brexit’ in a warning over the controversial UK Internal Market Bill.

Downing Street’s official summary of the phone call, which was understood to have lasted for about 25 minutes, did not make a specific mention of Brexit.

But a No 10 source said: ‘They talked about the importance of implementing Brexit in such a way that upholds the Good Friday Agreement, and the PM assured the president-elect that would be the case.’

A swift call with the incoming president is highly coveted but it will be particularly welcomed by Mr Johnson amid concerns the pair could face diplomatic difficulties.

They have never met before and Mr Biden has likened the Prime Minister to a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of Mr Trump.

In other controversies, allies of Mr Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice-president, have not forgiven Mr Johnson for highlighting the first African American president’s ‘part-Kenyan’ heritage, claiming it had given him an ‘ancestral dislike of the British empire’.

Later on Tuesday, Mr Biden, who speaks proudly of his Irish heritage, spoke to Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin where he again stressed his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Biden had a series of calls with European leaders on Tuesday, also speaking to German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron. The order of the calls was not clear.

The Prime Minister announced he had discussed the coronavirus pandemic and climate change with the Democrat by telephone after calling to ‘congratulate him on his election’ over Donald Trump at 4pm (pictured)

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke to Mr Biden on Monday, in what was reported to be his first call with a world leader since his election.

Asked if Sir Keir Starmer would condemn Mr Trump’s actions since the election, a spokesman for the Labour leader said: ‘Donald Trump’s actions are wrong – and the British Government should say so.

‘Any attempts to undermine democratic process should not be left unchallenged.

‘We call out that in other countries across the world, and we should be able to do so with our friends and allies in America.

‘His actions are wrong and the British Government shouldn’t be afraid to say so.

‘I think the actions are deeply concerning and they undermine, not only the democratic process in America, but the democratic process across the world.

‘They should not be left unchallenged, and the British Government should call them out.’

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