Donald Trump: Theresa May's Brexit plan has 'probably killed' hopes of US-UK trade deal

Written by Kevin Schofield on 13 July 2018 in News

The Prime Minister unveiled her Brexit plan yesterday, outlining plans to maintain close economic ties with Brussels

Donald Trump - Image credit: Press Association

Theresa May's plan for a Brexit agreement with the European Union has "probably killed" any hopes of a free trade deal between the UK and America, Donald Trump has declared.

Speaking to The Sun ahead of crunch talks with the Prime Minister at Chequers, the US President said Mrs May had ignored his advice to go for a clean break with the EU.

In further comments which are sure to enrage Downing Street, President Trump said Boris Johnson – who this week quit as foreign secretary in protest over Brexit – would make "a great prime minister".

May finally unveiled her Brexit blueprint yesterday, outlining plans to maintain close economic ties with Brussels through a "free trade area" on goods and a "common rule book" of regulations to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

The white paper has already angered many Tory MPs, who have vowed to vote down the proposals when the UK Government's Trade Bill goes to the Commons next week.

Piling further pressure on the embattled Prime Minister, Trump said: "If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.

"If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made."

He added: "We have enough difficulty with the European Union. We are cracking down right now on the European Union because they have not treated the United States fairly on trading.

"No, if they do that I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States."

Explaining what his own approach to Brexit would be, the President told the paper: "I would have done it much differently.

“I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.

"She wanted to go a different route. I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way.

“And that is fine. She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on."

The maverick Republican's remarks echo comments he made at the end of the NATO summit in Brussels yesterday, when he said May's Brexit plans were "not what people voted for" in the EU referendum.

Hitting back at the President, the Prime Minister said: "We have come to an agreement at the proposal we’re putting to the European Union which absolutely delivers on the Brexit people voted for.

"They voted for us to take back control of our money, our law and our borders and that’s exactly what we will do."

On Boris Johnson, President Trump told The Sun: "I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me.

"I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point.

“I think he is a great representative for your country."

Asked if Johnson – who this week quit the Cabinet over Brexit – could be in Number 10 one day, he said: "Well I am not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes."

President Trump also further stoked his ongoing feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The pair clashed in the wake of last year's terror attacks in London, while Khan gave permission for a giant blimp of the president wearing a nappy to fly over London to coincide with his four-day visit to the UK, which began on Thursday.

Trump said: "You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.

"Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.

"I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in."

A source close to the mayor said immigration policy for the whole of the UK was set by the Home Office.

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