A former ambassador to the U.S. says the downturn in relations between the British establishment and President Trump has undermined the chances of the “very big, very powerful” trade deal he offered to Brexit Britain from coming to fruition.
“Given that Trump’s attitude to the UK seems to have changed for the worst over the last year, at least in a superficial and tonal way, I think that takes out another of the arguments for thinking that this would be a great positive for the UK in the post-Brexit world,” said Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British ambassador to the U.S. from 2007 to 2012.
“It will be important for us to get a deal with the Americans, but it will take a long time.
“If you’re [Secretary of State for International Trade] Liam Fox, who has staked so much on the American deal being easy and within our reach around the same time as Brexit, then the way in which the bilateral relationship has atrophied and the tone has changed in the last year since May’s first visit is quite a big blow.
“It means we should put out of our minds the idea that just around the corner when we leave the EU there is a magical deal with the U.S. that is going to solve all our trade and industrial problems. Absolutely not.”
WATCH | @EmilyThornberry suggests it's no big deal if we don't have a trade deal with the U.S after Brexit because "we have been trading perfectly successfully with the U.S without a trade deal anyway."
So why can't we do the same with the EU, Emily? pic.twitter.com/LyFvAre9tn
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) January 14, 2018
President Trump cultivated a warm relationship with Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage ahead of his election and, unlike predecessor Barack Obama or his would-be Democratic Party successor Hillary Clinton, was enthusiastic about signing a bilateral agreement with the United Kindom after its departure from the European Union — which does not allow member-states to control their own trade policy.
But the odds of a fast, expansive Anglo-American have plummeted, as Remain-supporting Prime Minister Theresa May prepares the United Kingdom for a lengthy Brexit-in-name-only “transition period” after 2019, and figures including herself, London mayor Sadiq Khan, and leading members of the opposition Labour Party, repeatedly needle President Trump over his domestic and foreign policy.
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Some commentators, such as Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam, that Theresa May, a former Remain campaigner who leads a Cabinet composed overwhelmingly of former Remain campaigners, intends to “use the United States and President Trump as a cudgel by which to break Brexit”.
More specifically, Kassam argues that the Prime Minister intends to deliberately sabotage Britain’s relationship with the Trump administration and her Brexit-supporting trade secretary’s prospects of doing a deal with it.
This will allow her to make the case for Britain submitting to a so-called ‘Soft Brexit’ which leaves it tied to many aspects of EU governance, in the name of “economic security”.
“The fact is Theresa May is a globalist, a liberal, and an ardent Remainer,” he warned.