Boris Johnson defends relationship with ‘previous president’ Donald Trump

PM criticised by Labour for failing to denounce US leader’s refusal to accept election defeat

Eleanor Sly
Wednesday 11 November 2020 15:51 GMT
Boris Johnson refers to Donald Trump as 'previous president'

Boris Johnson has defended his “good relationship” with Donald Trump, who he labelled the “previous president” as the outgoing US leader continutes to contest last week’s election.

Mr Johnson, who has faced criticism for his praise of Mr Trump,told the House of Commons it was the  “duty of all British prime ministers” to maintain stable relations with the White House.

The PM said he had an "excellent conversation" with Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon after the Democrat was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race.

"It was refreshing, I may say, to have that conversation and I look forward to many more," he told MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Labour's Angela Eagle pressed Mr Johnson on his advice to his "erstwhile best friend" Mr Trump as he continues to refuse to accept the result of the election, which she said is "both embarrassing for him and dangerous for American democracy".

Mr Johnson replied: "I had and have a good relationship with the previous president, I do not resile from that - it is in the duty of all British prime ministers to have a good relationship with the White House."

When he was mayor of London, Mr Johnson once called Mr Trump “stupefyingly ignorant.”  But last year he lavished praise on the US president, lauding his  "many, many good qualities" and his record in office.

After entering the White House, the US president welcomed Mr Johnson to Washington, describing him as “really good man” and and Britain Trump.”

A spokesperson for Sir Keir Starmer said that the British government should stress that Mr Trump’s actions since losing the election were wrong and that “any attempts to undermine democratic processes should not be left unchallenged".

They added the president’s refusal to accept defeat was “deeply, deeply concerning” for democracy and the UK government should call out their American “friends and allies” in the same way that they call out other countries around the world.

Mr Trump remains president of the United States for 11 more weeks, until the inauguration of president-elect Mr Biden on 20 January.

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