US adviser Bolton courts Brexit Britain with a trade deal talk

Erika Holt
August 13, 2019

National security adviser John Bolton headed to London Sunday to start a two-day trip of meeting key players in the new government, marking the highest ranking USA official to visit the United Kingdom since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

However, senior Labour and rebel Conservative sources are sceptical about whether they have the numbers to defeat Johnson at this stage, as many Tory MPs still believe there are legislative routes to prevent a no-deal Brexit that have to be exhausted first.

None of his meetings have been on camera but in a briefing that was dominated by Brexit, he said "we are with you".

Trump believes that "when it comes to trade negotiations the European Union is worse than China, only smaller", the official said.

Mr Bolton also said issues like security in Iran, and fears over Huawei's involvement in the UK's 5G network could wait until after Brexit to be resolved. Disruption can be kept to a minimum and we will recover more quickly.

The United States is ready to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K.

"That would then lock that in and when the other areas that might be more hard were concluded later, you could combine it in one overall agreement".

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Johnson has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union on October 31 regardless of whether he manages to secure an exit deal with Brussels, despite many in parliament being opposed to leaving without a deal.

Trade negotiators will probably identify sectors of UK - US trade deal they can make progress on.

Asked whether piecemeal trade agreements like this are allowed under WTO rules, Mr Bolton said: "Our trade negotiators seem to think it is".

However, an Institute For Government report published on Monday warned MPs that they have few options and little time to stop a no-deal Brexit. We just felt we owe them that. His visit comes before a decision has been made by the new government on this issue.

Her successor Boris Johnson has said the withdrawal agreement must be renegotiated, but Brussels has so far resisted. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Hauliers have also expressed concerns that lorry drivers in Dover could face sitting in two-day queues without food or toilets if the United Kingdom crashes out of the EU.

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