U.S. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has today broken ranks with the White House establishment view on Britain’s EU membership, stating unequivocally that he would back a bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom if he were President.
His comments have been warmly received by UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who lashed out at President Obama’s White House.
In an interview with Breitbart, Gov. Bush said:
“The United States needs a strong Europe, and we have a special relationship and historic bond with Great Britain. As I’ve stressed in my conversations with British and European leaders, in light of growing dangers from Russia in the East and terrorism from North Africa and the Middle East, I believe a strong Trans-Atlantic alliance is as important as ever for U.S. national security.
“Great Britain is a sovereign nation, and they must make this decision about their relationship with Europe on their own. The U.S. should not be putting a thumb on the scale and certainly shouldn’t bully an ally. That said, as President, if Great Britain made that decision of course the U.S. would work with them on a trade agreement.
Nigel Farage responded tonight, telling Breitbart London exclusively: “With his comments today, Jeb Bush is representing the common sense approach to US-UK relations, in the face of an increasingly anti-British White House”.
The comments come swiftly on the back of President Obama’s trade representative Michael Froman demanding that the United Kingdom stays within the European Union.
Mr. Farage told Breitbart News Daily radio live on Sirius XM this week: “Froman basically said that if Britain was to leave the European Union there would be no bilateral trade deal between the United States and the Untied Kingdom. It’s ludicrous.
“It is political interference by the Obama regime in the British referendum… prior to being Obama’s trade envoy, he worked for the European Commission. He worked in Brussels for the Commission’s Forward Studies Unit.
“I am outraged at his level of interference”.
Mr. Bush’s comments will heap pressure on his Republican allies and the White House to climb down from their pro-EU stances and lend support to the fact that Britain is an independent nation that should formulate its own trade deals.