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Boris Johnson hails ‘indestructible relationship’ with US despite Joe Biden’s ‘concerns’ over Brexit


Boris Johnson has praised the ‘indestructible relationship’ between the UK and the US – but despite the external bonhomie, there are warnings that Joe Biden will still have ‘serious concerns’ about Brexit.

The prime minister has sought to reframe the “special relationship”, which he considers “needy and weak”.

He told the BBC that the alliance could be described as “a deep and meaningful relationship” or “an indestructible relationship”, noting that he had had “terrible” talks with President Biden covering “about 25 topics in detail. “.

Mr Johnson also played down suggestions that he had been reprimanded over the Northern Ireland protocol, stressing that “the president said no such thing”.

But Sir Peter Westmacott, a former ambassador, said that while their personal ‘chemistry’ would be strong, Mr Biden’s longstanding concerns about Brexit would persist and that there was a ‘risk’ it could eclipse a otherwise good relationship start.

“It was very striking that just days before the G7 summit, before President Biden’s visit, his acting ambassador was asked to come in and speak to the British government in very strong terms,” ​​he said. he told Sky News.

Any risk to the Good Friday deal was “a matter of grave concern,” he added. “I’m sure it happened yesterday.

Follow the latest updates below.

07:23

Vaccine supply “tight” but targets will be met, minister promises

Nadhim Zahawi admitted that the supply of Pfizer vaccine will be restricted over the next few weeks, but insisted it was “stable”.

When asked if it was going to be ‘tight’ in the next few weeks, he replied, “It will be, there’s no doubt. Every time I’ve been on your show, I’ve said the determining factor in terms of vaccine guns is the supply.

“And supply is still limited, but it’s stable, and Pfizer has done a great job on meeting their delivery schedule.”

But the Vaccines Minister told LBC he was “absolutely confident” the UK would continue “reach its objectives by the end of July “, to offer each adult at least one dose.

07:21

Joe Biden “extremely sympathetic” about Harry Dunn affair

President Joe Biden is “extremely sympathetic” to the hit and run death of Harry Dunn and “actively engaged” in the case, Boris Johnson said.

The 19-year-old died in August 2019 after Anne Sacoolas’ car collided with her motorcycle, moments after she left the RAF base where her husband worked for a US intelligence agency . Days later, she flew home after Washington told London she had diplomatic immunity, meaning there could be no criminal prosecution.

Mr Johnson told the BBC: “He was extremely sympathetic, but it’s not something that either government can control very easily as there are still legal proceedings going on.

“I think the difficulty is that there are limits to what the executive can do with the legal, with the judiciary and the legal system, but the two sides work together.”

The Prime Minister said Mr Biden, whose wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972, “has his own personal reasons for feeling very deeply about the matter.” .

07:14

Full unlock on June 21 ‘highly unlikely’, says Labor leader

The complete easing of restrictions on coronaviruses is “highly unlikely” to happen later this month, Labor’s Lisa Nandy said.

The shadow foreign secretary told the BBC: “I am desperate to unlock, I think like everyone else, to try and get back to normal. Here in the North West a lot of us are in. almost continuous containment for almost a year and … half now and it’s really starting to take its toll.

“But I think if we go too fast, if the government can’t control the new variant that has come out that is more heritable than the previous variants, then we could end up in another lockdown and this has to be the last lockdown. . “

When asked if she supported a delay, she replied, “I think it is highly unlikely that they will go ahead with the full unlock on. [June] 21. “

07:12

Government will not ‘haggle over UK integrity’, says Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab insisted that it is “the dogmatic and purist approach that the EU takes that poses the risk of the Good Friday deal”.

The foreign minister told Sky News that “the ball is in the EU’s court”, saying the protocol has always been conceived as a flexible deal and “a compromise reflecting all parties”.

“We want this to work for all parties, but the change has to come from the Commission side, and the way they approach it.

“We are not going to haggle over the integrity of the UK … it is not on the table to negotiate.”

The UK is “pragmatic” and “there is a strong well of goodwill” from which to negotiate, he added.

07:09

The bilateral “incredibly warm”, despite the Brexit, according to Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab said Joe Biden and Boris Johnson had “an incredibly warm bilateral meeting, which has overtaken” as he sought to downplay suggestions that the pair are facing Brexit.

The question was raised, said the former foreign minister, “but the prime minister did not dwell on it”.

Climate change, vaccines and girls’ education “were the things that dominated,” he told Sky News.

07:07

G7 summit: baby Wilfred Johnson joins the party

On a short stretch of the Cornish coast on Thursday, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden stepped forward to benefit a press photographer at the start of what appeared to be a beautiful friendship.

“It’s fantastic, it’s a breath of fresh air,” said the President’s Mr Johnson. Mr Biden monitored the view, stretching out into the English Channel. “It’s beautiful. I don’t want to come home,” said the most powerful man in the world.

Between them walked their glamorous wives: Jill Biden, 70, who has been married to Joe for 44 years, and Carrie Johnson, 33, who has been married to Boris for 12 days.

As the couple headed to their first bilateral meeting, their wives took to the beach for their own “special relationship” time together. Ms Johnson has brought little Wilfred Johnson, who was born a year ago but never seen before during an official engagement.

Carrie Johnson and Dr Jill Biden with Wilfred – Anadolu

07:01

“The virus has not disappeared,” warns Minister amid roadmap fears

The Vaccine Minister has not said anything on whether the final leg of the roadmap will go as planned – amid reports it could be pushed back for up to a month.

Nadhim Zahawi stressed the importance of being “really careful” when asked about the possibility of a postponement of the June 21 lifting of the coronavirus restrictions in England.

“There have been some really hard-won battles against this virus and we don’t want to waste the hard-earned gains we have made from the vaccination program,” he told Times Radio Breakfast.

“Saying that, the virus has not gone away, the virus will continue to try to mutate, to escape, to try to survive, and I think it’s really important that we are really careful.”

06:58

EU takes ‘overly cumbersome’ approach to Brexit, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has suggested that the European Union take an “overly cumbersome” approach to post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland.

The EU has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it does not implement controls on goods entering Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit “divorce” deal agreed by the Prime Minister. minister.

Mr Johnson, who will meet with EU leaders during the G7 summit, told the BBC: “You will understand that there are ways to enforce the protocol, ways to make it work, which can be excessively heavy.

“Let me give you just one statistic: 20% of checks carried out across the entire EU perimeter are now carried out in Northern Ireland, three times more than in Rotterdam.”

The new post-Brexit deals came into effect on January 1 and the dispute is still brewing, but Mr Johnson insisted “I think we can fix the problem”.

6:35 am

Biden ‘breath of fresh air’, PM says as Brexit tensions are pushed back

Boris Johnson on Thursday hailed Joe Biden’s administration as a “breath of fresh air” as the couple demonstrated unity despite Brexit tensions in their first face-to-face meeting.

Despite speculation that the US president was preparing to disguise his counterpart on the Northern Ireland protocol, the leaders exchanged public compliments rather than veiled threats.

Their meeting in Cornwall, where the G7 summit of world leaders officially begins on Friday, lasted an hour and 20 minutes – longer than expected, according to Downing Street.

Mr Biden called their talks “very productive” and referred to a “good first full day” in the UK, while Mr Johnson called their talks “brilliant” and “fantastic”.

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