Jeremy Corbyn says US is not Britain's most important relationship as he hits out at 'offensive' Donald Trump

Labour leader says there will be ‘robust discussions’ when the US President does come to Britain

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Sunday 14 January 2018 13:06
Jeremy Corbyn responds to accusations from Boris Johnson that he's damaged the UK's special relationship with the USA

Jeremy Corbyn has questioned the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and the United States, as he condemned “endless offensive” comments from Donald Trump.

The Labour leader said the UK had many important relationships around the world, with nations such as China and India, and distanced himself from the enduring bond with the US, saying no one has ever succeeded in defining what it meant.

It comes after Mr Trump called off a proposed visit to open the US embassy in London amid reports he felt he had “not been shown enough love” by the British Government.

Asked whether the UK’s relationship with the US was the most important, Mr Corbyn told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: “No. I think there are many important relationships.

“The US one is obviously culturally and economically significant and important.

“Also the trading relationships we have around the world with obviously the EU, but also with India and China and the rest of the world are very important.

“Also our relationship with international institutions such as the United Nations is very important.”

He added: “The biggest disappointment of Donald Trump is – apart from his endless offensive remarks about women, about minorities and about different faiths – is his failure to support international institutions like the United Nations and like Unesco.”

Mr Corbyn did acknowledge that having a relationship with and influence over the US was important “because it is such a huge military and economic power around the world”.

He added: “I’m not sure that anyone has succeeded in defining the special relationship.

“I’ve asked about the special relationship and I was told once, by a former prime minister, I won’t name the person, that if they specified what the special relationship was, it wouldn’t be a special relationship.”

His frontbench colleague Emily Thornberry also hit out at Mr Trump in a separate interview where she described the US President as ”racist” and compared his leadership to an “asteroid of awfulness” which had befallen the earth.

However Brandon Lewis, the newly appointed Tory chairman, said it was right for the US President to have a welcome in Britain.

In the interview with ITV, Mr Corbyn also defied critics and ruled out staying in the single market after Brexit, saying: “The single market is dependent on membership of the European Union.”

The Labour leader has come under pressure from his own MPs and other opposition parties to commit to staying in the EU trading agreements after Britain leaves the bloc.

Mr Corbyn insisted his party was not supporting or calling for a second referendum, but would support a “meaningful vote” for Parliament.

Labour will oppose landmark Brexit legislation when it returns to the Commons this week unless its demands were met in areas such as workers rights, he said.

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