Boris Johnson may hold off on no deal Brexit decision until US election result

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The senior figures in governments across the EU believe the UK Prime Minister will only decide to risk a no deal Brexit after learning whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump has won the US election. It comes as Mr Johnson’s negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier have resumed trade talks in a bid to break the deadlock over key issues. Earlier this month the Prime Minister had declared the talks were effectively over and the UK was prepared to walk away on Australian-style terms, widely viewed as a no deal Brexit.

Now Ivan Rogers, who was the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels from 2013 to 2017, claims officials in Europe believe Mr Johnson is much more likely to adopt a no deal Brexit approach if Donald Trump is re-elected.

Speaking to the Observer Mr Rogers said: “Several very senior sources in capitals have told me they believe Johnson will await clarity on the presidential election result before finally deciding whether to jump to ‘no deal’ with the EU.

“He may also conclude that this is just too risky with Biden heading for the White House, and hence live with some highly suboptimal for Johnson skinny free-trade agreement.”

Mr Rogers said if Mr Trump won the Prime Minister would think “history was going his way” and could opt to walk away from trade talks with the EU if he is not satisfied with the outcome.

Mr Johnson would then hope to strike a quick and substantial post-Brexit US-UK trade deal with Mr Trump.

However, if Mr Biden emerged as president Mr Johnson may decide to negotiate a deal with the EU.

It has been reported that a Biden administration would wish to rebuild US relations with the EU.

Relations between the US and the EU have deteriorated with President Trump.

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Mr Biden has also spoken out against the Prime Minister’s Internal Market Bill which overrides elements of the withdrawal agreement, breaking international law.

A Democratic administration under Mr Biden could threaten the so-called special relationship between the UK and the US claims Mr Rogers.

He said: “I don’t think either Biden or his core team are anti-British.

“But, I think they are unimpressed by both Johnson and his top team.

“They believe him to have been an early and vigorous supporter of Trump, and that Brexiteer thinking, which they think has damaged the unity of the west, has many parallels with Trumpism.


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“So I really doubt there will be much warmth in the personal relationship.

“And Biden’s would simply not be an administration which viewed European integration as a negative.

“The UK’s absence from the EU will make it clearly less influential because it can no longer lead European thinking on the geo-strategic issues which will matter hugely to Biden.

“So Biden will put Berlin and Paris, and indeed Brussels, back at the heart of US thinking.

“This will not be uncritical, because the US will still have serious issues with EU approaches on economic and security issues.”

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