Thursday

25th May 2017

Trump to model UK relations on Reagan-Thatcher

  • US president-elect has closer relationships with Nigel Farage than any other British politician and called himself Mr Brexit after the UK voted to leave the EU. (Photo: Jeso Carneiro)

Donald Trump called the UK a "very, very special place” during a phone conversation with British prime minister Theresa May on Thursday (10 November) and invited her to visit the White House ”as soon as possible”.

The US president-elect, whose mother was Scottish, said he would like to revive the special relationship between Britain and America that marked the Ronald Reagan - Margaret Thatcher relationship of the 1980s.

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Downing Street said May congratulated Trump on his win and highlighted her wish to strengthen bilateral trade and investment with the US after Brexit.

”But she said that our relationship is so much more than that and our two countries have always stood together as close allies when it counts the most,” the prime minister’s office added.

UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, meanwhile, urged Trump critics to stop the "whinge-o-rama" and be "positive about the possibilities”.

Trump’s election has, for instance, boosted British hopes of a quick free-trade deal with the US.

Outgoing US president Barack Obama had said the UK would go to the ”back of the queue” in free-trade negotiations, giving priority to EU trade talks.

But Trump vehemently opposed the EU-US free-trade pact TTIP in his campaign, a pact whose future now looks increasingly bleak.

Still, it doesn’t mean that a UK-US deal will be easy.

The president-elect has insinuated he would only sign an agreement that is heavily skewed to the benefit of the US.

And for all the good cheers and ”special relationship” talk, May was only the ninth head of state Trump called up.

According to British daily Telegraph, the UK government, lacking contacts with the Trump camp, could rely on the UK Independence Party (Ukip) leader Nigel Farage as its ”go between” man .

Before her appointment, May spoke of Trump in critical terms, even if she later refused to endorse either of the candidates.

Farage, on the other hand, is the British politician with the closest ties to Trump. He worked as his consultant during the campaign, including speaking at a rally.

After the UK voted to leave the EU, Trump declared himself ”Mr Brexit” on Twitter.

Farage already declared his willingness to help the British government and asked Trump not to grope May.

”Come and schmooze Theresa – don’t touch her, for goodness’ sake,” Farage joked in an interview with Talksport Radio on Thursday.

He offered to partake in their meetings and fend off sexual assaults if needed.

“I could be there as the responsible adult role, to make sure everything’s OK,” he said.

TTIP's future in Trump's hands

EU commissioners admit they "frankly don't know" what the US president-elect intends to do with the US-EU trade talks.

Merkel urges Trump to respect 'values'

Germany and France have appealed to Donald Trump to respect “shared values”. They “still don’t get it”, a former EU diplomat said.

Obama warns of Trump-type populism in Europe

The US will stick with Nato no matter who is in the White House, according to Barack Obama, but he warned that Trump-style populism was a danger in Europe.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

EU wants Brexit talks to start the day after UK vote

EU negotiator Michel Barnier urged negotiations to begin as soon as possible, while European Council chief Donald Tusk said the EU-27's red lines will be updated once talks can move on from the divorce to the future relationship.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Tories on manoeuvres, as Labour wakes from Brexit slumber

In Labour's programme for the June election, Jeremy Corbyn claims there will be no second EU referendum and promises a form of associate membership with the EU. For the moment, it’s as far as his party can go.

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