No need for a Plan B here either... No 10 rejoices as Mitt falls short

Cameron congratulates his 'friend' on election victory as he continues tour of the Middle East

Although Downing Street kept out of the US election – in line with tradition – there was genuine relief at No 10 yesterday that David Cameron would not have to forge a relationship with Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate.

Cameron aides were privately scathing of Mr Romney when he visited Britain this summer and united the political class against him by suggesting London was not ready to host a successful Olympics. Relations would have been repaired if he had won, continuing the "special relationship" over which UK prime ministers obsess, much to the White House's bemusement. But Cameron aides were very happy that their US election Plan B remained in the bottom drawer.

Mr Romney has surrounded himself with neo-Conservative advisers from the George Bush era and had been expected to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy – including a tougher stance against Iran over its nuclear weapons programme.

The Iran issue has the potential to split the UK's Coalition Government, because the Conservatives would be likely to back US or Israeli air strikes and the Liberal Democrats likely to repeat their opposition to foreign intervention in Iraq.

Historically, the Democrat and Conservative parties have not been soulmates, but Mr Cameron has bonded with Barack Obama. They have worked hard to stay "on the same page" over tricky issues such as last year's intervention in Libya and the pullout from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The other reason for No 10's relief is that Mr Obama has not joined the long list of 17 national leaders who have lost power since the global financial crisis began in 2008. "It shows that incumbents can win if people see the economy is going in the right direction," one Cameron ally said. "That gives us hope for 2015."

Mr Cameron was briefed on the Obama victory by officials when he woke up at 5am yesterday in Amman, Jordan, on the final day of a Middle East visit. He was quick to offer his congratulations and to hail his pal as "a very successful US President". The two leaders are expected to speak by telephone shortly. Mr Cameron said: "Here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories about what has happened inside Syria so one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis."

Labour dismissed Mr Cameron's tribute, claiming the Coalition Government had done the opposite of Mr Obama's huge fiscal stimulus by cutting spending "too far, too fast" and killing the growth seen in the US. Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said Mr Obama's victory address was "a speech of a centre-left politician", not a centre-right leader like Mr Cameron. "The difficulty for Downing Street is when Barack Obama says 'we're all in this together', the American people feel inspired; when David Cameron says 'we're all in this together', increasingly the British people snigger," Mr Alexander said.

The Liberal Democrats regard themselves as the most natural allies of the US Democratic Party.

Markets plunge as 'fiscal cliff' fears intensify

Barack Obama's honeymoon with the financial markets ended within hours yesterday as shares slumped amid fears over the impact of the $600bn (£375bn) "fiscal cliff" on the US economy.

London's FTSE 100 Index fell by more than one per cent, and stock markets across Europe also suffered.

The markets in Italy and Spain fell by more than two per cent. In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 300 points, or 2.4 per cent, last night.

Russell Lynch

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living