Politics

PM admits trade deal with UK not priority for Biden ahead of White House visit


US, UK Attempt Damage Control With France Following Nuclear Sub ‘Crisis’

Boris Johnson has said that a fast trade deal between the UK and the US is unlikely, as Joe Biden “has a lot of fish to fry”.

The admission comes as the prime minister prepares for his first White House with the US president, after addressing the UN General Assembly about the climate crisis on Monday.

Referring to a potential free trade agreement with the US, Mr Johnson said Mr Biden was busy with matters such as his large infrastructure package.

He added that American negotiators are “pretty ruthless” and that he would rather get a deal that really works for the UK than get a quick deal”.

Before his visit to Washington, the Tory leader insisted he had a good relationship with his US counterpart, saying their relationship was “terrific”.

The pair are expected to discuss the climate crisis among other topics during the meeting. On Monday, Mr Johnson said “we are not counting our chickens” that Mr Biden would give extra financial support to an initiative supporting developing countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

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Government ‘criminally negligent’ over lack of support to Afghan interpreters, says Tory MP

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Home Office have failed to protect Afghan interpreters who worked for the UK, a former minister has said.

Johnny Mercer, who served as a soldier in Afghanistan, tweeted a biting response to the news that the MoD compromised the safety of hundreds of Afghan workers by publishing their details in an email.

He wrote that the government was guilty of “a criminally negligent performance”, which it had masked with “back slapping” over its evacuation efforts (during Operation Pitting).

Rory Sullivan21 September 2021 08:42

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Dozens of Afghan interpreters affected by MoD data breach

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has ordered an investigation into a data breach which put hundreds of Afghans who worked for Britain at risk.

The details of more than 250 Afghan workers were copied into an email, the BBC reported.

In response, John Healey MP, the shadow defence secretary, said: “We told these Afghans interpreters we would keep them safe, instead this breach has needlessly put lives at risk.

“This is the second major data breach from the MoD this year, after sensitive documents were discovered at a bus stop in Kent in June. Clearly, the defence secretary needs to get his house in order.”

Ashley Cowburn has the details:

Rory Sullivan21 September 2021 08:22

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PM discusses taxation with Jeff Bezos

Boris Johnson discussed taxation during a meeting with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in New York on Monday, Downing Street has confirmed.

“The prime minister raised the issue of taxation, and hoped progress could be in implementing the G7 agreement on tax,” a spokesperson said.

The pair also discussed the upcoming Cop26 summit, agreeing on the “urgent need to mobilise more public and private money to help developing countries protect biodiversity”.

The British prime minister welcomed the Bezos Earth Fund’s 1-billion-dollar pledge to protect forests, the spokesperson added.

Rory Sullivan21 September 2021 08:07

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UK trade deal not a priority for Biden, Johnson admits

Joe Biden will not prioritise a free trade agreement with the UK because he has “a lot of fish to fry”, Boris Johnson has accepted.

His comment came shortly before his visit to the White House on Tuesday.

Here’s a report from our politics editor Andrew Woodcock:

Rory Sullivan21 September 2021 07:51

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live UK politics coverage, which will focus on Boris Johnson’s visit to the US.

Rory Sullivan21 September 2021 07:48

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