HOPES for a bumper trade deal with the US were given a huge boost today – as even Sir Keir Starmer backed one under the soon-to-be President Biden.
The Labour boss stressed Mr Biden was a “friend of Britain” and added: “I’m sure he will want to do a trade deal with us”.
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It comes after the Democratic challenger was declared to have reached over the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the US Presidency on Saturday – after days of counting.
But incumbent Donald Trump has yet to accept the result.
Sir Keir told LBC Radio this morning: “Joe Biden is a friend of Britain. He’s worked with Britain in the past as Vice-President and I’m sure that he will want to do a trade deal with us.
“We all want to get a good trade with America and with the many other countries around the world.”
And Sir Keir was today was backed by Gordon Brown, despite fears that the UK may not be top of the incoming administration’s priorities.
“Joe Biden has always been a great friend of Great Britain,” he said.
However, he warned that a deal might not be done “immediately” as he wanted to see a trade deal struck between the EU and the UK first.
Mr Brown told the Today programme: “He is not going to allow a trade deal with Britain to happen if we in some way breach the Good Friday Agreement.
“That is why I think he is already speeding up the [post-Brexit trade] talks on Europe [between the UK and the EU] and we may reach a conclusion so that that triggering of the Internal Market Bill won’t happen and relations with Ireland will not be affected.
“But he generally wants to cooperate.”
His comments will calm nerves among some in Whitehall who are concerned about losing the close relationship seen between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.
The PM has never met Mr Biden, and is yet to have his first phone-called with the soon-to-be President Elect.
And ex-PM Mr Brown said Mr Biden wanted to come to the UK for an official visit within six months of coming into office – in a huge boost for the special relationship.
He added: “I think he wants to be a friend of Britain.
“I think he plans, from what I know, to come to Britain within the first six months of becoming president, probably to the G7.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice weighed in too, and said there was no need for talks to start again from scratch and trade negotiators could pick up where they left off.
Asked about whether talks had to start again from scratch, Mr Eustice told BBC Breakfast: “It doesn’t if the new administration is happy to pick up where the previous one did.
“That is possible and something that we will be exploring.”
No10 today dismissed concerns about being further down the line to chat to Mr Biden once he starts calling over world leaders.
A spokesperson for the PM said: “No. That’s not something that we are concerned about.
“You heard the PM speaking yesterday. He was saying that Britain and the US have been, and will remain, close partners cooperating across security, defence, trade and diplomacy.
“As the PM set out, the UK and the US have much more in common than divides us, and our countries will stand together to protect our shared values.”