Saturday, August 24, 2019 | ePaper
Boris Johnson 'will do a great job as PM': Trump
US President Donald Trump has said Boris Johnson would do "a great job" as UK prime minister and they would have "a very good relationship".
"He's a different kind of a guy but they say I'm a different kind of a guy too," Mr Trump told reporters.
Outgoing prime minister Theresa May "has done a very bad job with Brexit", he added.
Mr Johnson is the frontrunner in the contest to become the next Tory leader and UK prime minister.
He and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are the final two candidates, with the winner announced on 23 July and taking office the next day.
President Trump said he had spoken to Mr Johnson on Thursday, adding: "We get along well." "I like Boris Johnson, I always have," he told reporters in the Oval Office in Washington DC.
Commenting on the UK's Brexit negotiations, he said: "It's a disaster and it shouldn't be that way." "I think Boris will straighten it out," he added.
The US president has previously said Mr Johnson would be an "excellent" choice as Conservative leader.
He has also been critical of Mrs May's Brexit policy in the past, saying he was surprised by how "badly" the negotiations had gone.
Some 160,000 Conservative Party members are voting in a postal ballot to elect the next leader. Ballots must be returned by 17:00 BST on Monday.
"It's a disaster, and it shouldn't be that way. I think Boris will straighten it out," the president said.
The European Union is preparing to offer the next British Prime Minister a Brexit extension beyond Oct. 31 to provide yet another attempt to reach an agreement, The Guardian reported, citing unidentified EU officials.
The extra period of membership, while allowing for an agreement to be reached, could be billed to members of the Conservative Party as an opportunity to prepare for leaving without a deal, helping to hold together the party which is split over on what terms to leave the bloc.
Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming European Commission president, has indicated she's open to a further delay. "I stand ready for further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required for a good reason," she told the European Parliament July 16.
The British Parliament has voted against a no-deal Brexit, limiting the scope of maneuver for its next prime minister, likely to be be Boris Johnson. Johnson has generally been in favor of leaving without an accord, though he's been vague about how such an abrupt departure would be handled.
Johnson is ahead in polls of grassroots Conservatives who will choose the next leader. The party's members are overwhelmingly in favor of Brexit and regard Johnson as more likely to deliver on the referendum result of three years ago than his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The winner of the leadership contest will be announced on July 23.
U.S. President Donald Trump Friday said Johnson will do a "great job" on Brexit, and would clean up the "disaster" left by his predecessor, Theresa May.