International

U.S. President urges Boris Johnson to form alliance with Farage’s party

He says Corbyn would be ‘so bad’ for U.K. if he wins the poll

U.S. President Donald Trump ruffled a few feathers in the U.K. on Thursday when he backed “fantastic” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and categorised Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as “so bad” for Britain if he wins the election, which is scheduled on December 12.

In an interview with LBC Radio with host and far-right Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage on the phone overnight on Thursday, Mr. Trump pushed for an alliance between the Conservatives and Mr. Farage’s party as an “unstoppable” force for the December 12 polls.

“I have great relationships with many of the leaders, including Boris who’s a fantastic man — I think he’s the exact right guy for the times,” Mr. Trump said.

“I know that you and him will end up doing something that could be terrific — if you and he get together it’s [an] unstoppable force,” he said.

In reference to Mr. Corbyn, the U.S. President was scathing.

“Corbyn would be so bad for your country, he’d be so bad, he’d take you in such a bad way. He’d take you into such bad places. But your country has tremendous potential, it’s a great country,” Mr. Trump said.

Corbyn hits back

The remarks prompted Mr. Corbyn to take to Twitter to accuse the U.S. President of “trying to interfere” in Britain’s internal affairs to get “his friend Boris Johnson elected“.

However, in his characteristic style, Mr. Trump went on to also criticise Mr. Johnson for his Brexit deal struck with the European Union (EU), as damaging for U.S.-U.K. trade relations, forcing Downing Street to dismiss the concerns.

Mr. Trump said, “Under certain aspects of the deal you can’t do it [sign a trade deal with the US]. You can’t do it, you can’t trade, we can’t make a trade deal with the UK.

“I think we can do many times the numbers that we’re doing right now and certainly much bigger numbers than you’re doing under the EU. So, I know Boris wants to be very careful of that.”

In response, a Downing Street spokesperson said the U.K. Prime Minister’s Brexit deal with the EU ensures control of laws, trade, borders and money.

“Under this new deal the whole of the U.K. will leave the EU customs union, which means we can strike our own free trade deals around the world, from which every part of the U.K. will benefit,” the spokesperson said.

U.K. ministers were also quick to dismiss the idea of any kind of an election pact between the Tories and Mr. Farage’s Brexit Party.

“We’re not interested in doing any pacts with the Brexit Party or anyone else. We’re in it to win it,” said U.K. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

The Brexit Party has been under pressure to decide between fielding a large number of candidates, which may end up benefitting the opposition Labour Party, or to concentrate resources on a small number of potentially winnable hard Brexit seats.

The snap election in December was pushed through by Johnson to try and win a majority after he failed to win support for his EU withdrawal agreement in the U.K. Parliament in time for the October 31 deadline, due to his minority Tory government.

Brexit is therefore expected to dominate the agenda on the campaign trail for all the parties — with the Tories offering to get Brexit done, Labour to have sensible talks on the issue with the EU and the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:44:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-president-urges-boris-johnson-to-form-alliance-with-farages-party/article29857167.ece

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