A senior government figure told the Sunday Express that a Trump victory would be better for the UK and more likely to mean there is a trade deal quickly agreed. The minister said: “Biden is anti-British. He is caught up with the Irish lobby in the Democrats and he was Obama’s vice president when he said we would be ‘at the back of the queue’ after Brexit. “It’s obvious that Trump wants a trade deal with us and we would get it done but the Democrats have already made it clear that they would block it.”
Speaking to the Sunday Express last month, international trade secretary Liz Truss said she has been speaking to both sides of the divide in America and is confident of a trade deal whatever the outcome.
However, the comments from one of her colleagues highlight serious concerns in Boris Johnson’ government over the outcome of this week’s election.
Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said there is “absolutely no chance” of a trade deal if the UK is judged to “violate” Irish border arrangements agreed with the EU.
Conservatives fear that Obama-era figures who were strongly opposed to Brexit will return to positions of power.
Former Conservative security minister Sir John Hayes said: “Whatever his faults and frailties, it’s clear Donald Trump has a strong attachment to the United Kingdom which is both instinctive and real… The critical thing from our point of view is getting the best possible continuing relationship with the United States and in truth that’s more likely with the Republicans in power.”
Joe Biden could disrupt a trade deal with America
Prominent Brexiteer and North West Leicestershire Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen argues a Trump victory will give Britain the best chance of securing a transatlantic trade deal – and getting the best deal with the EU.
He said: “[If] Trump wins the chances of a very quick free trade deal with the US are greatly enhanced and that strengthens our hand in negotiations with the EU because we have got choices.”
Detailing the hostility towards Brexit when Mr Obama was president, he described how he visited the US State Department before the 2016 referendum and was angrily condemned for wanting to see Britain leave the EU.
“When I told them I was for Brexit and I would be campaigning for Brexit they went apoplectic,” he said. “They told me I couldn’t do it…
“I thought actually I was going to get thrown out of the building. It was that bad.
“I mean, the guy was banging the table in front of me, saying, ‘You can’t do it. You can’t leave the EU.’”
Warning of the consequences of a Democrat victory this week, he said: “If Biden gets in we’re going to be [at the] back of the queue if we’re not careful.”
There are concerns that Mr Biden will be strongly influenced by the powerful Irish-American lobby.
In September, Mr Biden fired warning shots at the UK in its standoff with Brussels over the Internal Markets Bill, which would allow Britain to override aspects of the controversial Northern Ireland protocol to secure the free flow of trade.
The Democrat candidate said the Good Friday Agreement which helped secure peace in Northern Ireland must not be a “casualty of Brexit” and warned that any trade deal in the US was contingent on avoiding a hard border on the island. This came as powerful Democrats in Congress wrote to Boris Johnson, urging him to “abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol”.
Sammy Wilson, a DUP MP, is in no doubt that a Trump victory is in the UK’s national interests.
A trade deal with the US could be slowed
He said: “Clearly, the man hasn’t a clue what the [Good Friday Agreement] is all about and he [has] become a parrot for nationalists in Northern Ireland. I’d rather not have a nationalist parrot in the White House; I’d rather have an American eagle.”
Mr Wilson argues there is more chance of nailing down a trade deal with a reelected Trump.
He said: “From a British point of view a Trump victory would be much desirable to a Biden victory. Apart from anything else, Trump is more likely to ensure that the American economy is buoyant [and] that’s good for us because we’re such a big trader with America, and it’s good for the world…
“I think Trump is much more well-disposed towards the United Kingdom because of his roots here, because of the business connections he has here, and because of the relationships that he seems to have built up with some of the leading politicians.”
Leading Brexiteer and former Welsh Secretary David Jones also criticised Biden, saying: “He doesn’t seem to understand that the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol are actually in breach of the terms of the [Good Friday Agreement].
Andrew Bridgen said a Trump win would strengthen Britain’s negotiating powers
“They purport to change the constitutional arrangements of Northern Ireland without the consent of its people and therefore he should be, it seems to me, more concerned about the Withdrawal Agreement proceeding in its current form than to support the position of those who clearly have got a different agenda so far as Europe is concerned.”
David Collins, Professor of International Economic Law at London’s City University, doubts that a swift trade deal can be agreed if Biden wins. A key factor is that the present fast-track mandate for a president to strike trade deals will expire next year.
He said: “The US President has authority to conclude trade agreements on his or her own until July 1 of next year, and then the President loses the fast-track authority. That will happen regardless of whether it’s Trump or Biden…
“We have a deadline probably of early April to get a text ready which would then go to Congress… You won’t get the [free trade agreement] in place under Biden.
“You could under Trump, because Trump wants it.”