Boris Johnson tells UN Brexit is not like Donald Trump's 'America first' policy

Boris Johnson says Brexit means being more 'outward-looking' and 'engaged' on the world stage

Mr Johnson was a key figure in the Leave camp during the EU referendum campaign (PA)
Mr Johnson was a key figure in the Leave camp during the EU referendum campaign (PA)

Boris Johnson has said that Brexit is not similar to US Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump's isolationist 'America First' policy.

Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Mr Johnson rejected the suggestion from a journalist that his motivation for wanting to leave the EU bore any similarity to the policies of Mr Trump.

"I would draw a very, very strong contrast between Brexit and any kind of isolationism," he said, on what was his first official visit to the United States as Foreign Secretary.

"Brexit means us being more outward-looking, more engaged, more enthusiastic and committed on the world stage than ever before," he added.

Although Mr Johnson appeared keen to distance himself from the controversial, right-wing US politician, he added that it would be wrong to meddle in American politics and said the UK Government will work with whoever is elected.

Mr Trump has campaigned on a platform of "Americanism, not globalism", telling the New York Times that he would consider Nato allies' payments to the United States before offering protection in the event that they needed help from America.

When he visited Scotland in June, Mr Trump praised the Brexit vote as a "beautiful, beautiful thing" and praised Mr Johnson for reading the public mood better than David Cameron. He promised there would be "zero" impact from Brexit on the special relationship between the UK and the US if he became US president, and added that he understood why EU member states were fed up with immigrants flowing across "Swiss cheese" borders. He said he sympathised with people who wanted to "take their borders back" and "have their country again."

But Mr Johnson stressed that leaving the EU doesn't mean leaving Europe.

"We are going to be more committed than ever before to co-operation and participation and support for other European countries whether through defence policy co-ordination or foreign policy or counter-terrorism," he said.

Mr Johnson, who also had meetings to discuss a UK initiative to counter online propaganda by Islamic State and voted as part of the UN Security Council, appeared to be trying hard to present himself as a serious politician while in New York. He told journalists that it is in the UK's interests to keep an open relationship with the EU. "We buy a hell of a lot of French wine," he added.

As he left the UN he told journalists: "I hugely enjoyed my first week as a diplomat."

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