Senior figures in European governments imagine Boris Johnson is ready for the results of the US presidential election earlier than lastly deciding whether or not to danger plunging the UK right into a no-deal Brexit, in response to a former British ambassador to the EU.

Ivan Rogers, who was the UK’s everlasting consultant in Brussels from 2013 to 2017, informed the Observer {that a} view shared by ministers and officers he has talked to in latest weeks in a number of European capitals, is that Johnson is biding his time – and is more likely to go for no deal if his good friend and Brexit supporter Donald Trump prevails over the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

Rogers mentioned: “A number of very senior sources in capitals have informed me they imagine Johnson will await readability on the presidential election consequence earlier than lastly deciding whether or not to leap to ‘no deal’ with the EU, or to conclude that that is simply too dangerous with Biden heading for the White Home, and therefore dwell with some extremely suboptimal (for Johnson) skinny free-trade settlement.”

The previous ambassador to the EU – who give up beneath Theresa Could’s premiership due to disagreements over Brexit technique – stays in common contact with senior authorities figures in EU capitals. Rogers mentioned that if Trump received he and others in Europe believed Johnson would suppose “historical past was going his approach” together with his rightwing ally nonetheless within the White Home. The prime minister would subsequently be extra prone to conclude he might strike a fast and substantial post-Brexit US-UK commerce deal than if Biden emerged as president after the three November ballot. In contrast, a Biden administration would prioritise rebuilding relations with the EU which were broken by Trump.

Rogers joined different former UK diplomats final evening in warning {that a} Democratic administration beneath Biden would show vastly problematic for Johnson and the UK authorities, threatening the so-called particular relationship. “I don’t suppose both Biden or his core workforce are anti-British, however I feel they’re unimpressed by each Johnson and his high workforce,” he mentioned.

Ivan Rogers.



Ivan Rogers. {Photograph}: Dominic Lipinski/PA

“They imagine him to have been an early and vigorous supporter of Trump, and that Brexiteer considering – which they suppose has broken the unity of the west – has many parallels with Trumpism. So I actually doubt there shall be a lot heat within the private relationship. And Biden’s would merely not be an administration which considered European integration as a unfavorable.

“The UK’s absence from the EU will make it clearly much less influential as a result of it may possibly now not lead European considering on the geo-strategic points which can matter vastly to Biden. So [Biden] will put Berlin and Paris – and certainly Brussels – again on the coronary heart of US considering: not uncritically, as a result of the US will nonetheless have critical points with EU approaches on financial and safety points..”

Kim Darroch, a former UK ambassador in Washington, who give up the put up in 2019 after the leaking of diplomatic cables wherein he criticised the Trump administration as “inept”, mentioned Biden may even favour a US-EU commerce deal over one with the UK.

Darroch mentioned: “Whoever wins in November the bedrock of the connection – defence, safety and intelligence collaboration – will stay as sturdy as ever. But when it’s Biden, there are prone to be some points. The Democrats don’t like or assist Brexit. They could prioritise commerce offers with the Pacific area or the EU over a UK/US deal. They may block a commerce cope with us in the event that they suppose we’re placing the Good Friday settlement in danger. And so they bear in mind and resent Johnson’s feedback in 2016 about ‘the part-Kenyan president’ having ‘an ancestral dislike of the British empire’ – to not point out Johnson telling US diplomats that Trump was ‘making America nice once more’.”

Final week the worldwide commerce secretary, Liz Truss, insisted a cope with the EU might nonetheless be achieved though substantial disagreements stay earlier than the Brexit transition interval ends on 31 December. The principle downside areas embrace fishing rights, post-Brexit competitors guidelines and the way any deal could be enforced.

Jonathan Powell, who served as a diplomat in Washington within the Nineteen Nineties earlier than turning into Tony Blair’s chief of workers and taking management of negotiations that led to the Good Friday settlement, mentioned Biden believed Johnson had imperilled the Irish peace course of. He mentioned: “Biden may be very pleased with his Irish antecedents. He has at all times been lively on Northern Eire since earlier than I used to be in Washington. He takes an in depth curiosity within the Northern Irish peace course of and sees it as an outrage that Johnson has in his cavalier method threatened peace in Northern Eire for therefore little motive. So that’s going to be chalked up in opposition to him.”

In Washington there are many overseas coverage advisers round Biden who labored within the Obama administration and haven’t forgiven Johnson for his “part-Kenyan” feedback. The camp sees Johnson as a part of the identical populist phenomenon that introduced Trump to energy. And from the Democrats’ viewpoint, the UK exterior the EU will make it much less essential as a associate on the world stage.

“In all these big points – tech and disinformation and China, and commerce, the place of the EU on these points is simply much more essential than the place of the UK,” mentioned Ben Rhodes, Obama’s overseas coverage adviser. “For these huge ticket objects I feel that Brussels, Berlin and Paris are simply far more in the course of all of it, than London shall be.”

Overseas Workplace and Downing Avenue officers downplay the prospect of difficulties within the “particular relationship” if Biden wins. They level out the UK could have alternatives to take the lead on the world stage and construct relations with a brand new US administration. They cite the truth that the UK will chair the UN safety council from February, and the rotating presidency of the G7 from the US, in addition to internet hosting the twenty sixth Convention of Events (COP 26) on local weather change in Glasgow in November 2021.

“Local weather is de facto essential,” a British official mentioned. “That’s actually going to assist since you’ve seen a lot of feedback from Biden about how essential that’s to him, and since we’re main on COP, it is going to be one thing the place they’ll immediately recognise our worth and our significance.”

A Downing Avenue spokesperson mentioned: “The US election is an inside matter for the US. We welcome the intensive talks going down with the EU in London over the weekend, the place for the primary time we shall be negotiating on authorized texts and throughout all areas on the similar time.

“We’ve been clear in our ambition for what we need to obtain, we need to attain an FTA that respects us as a sovereign nation and we need to obtain this as quickly as attainable.”



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