Donald Trump's ambassador to UK says Boris Johnson's Luxembourg 'set up' shows why Brits backed Brexit
Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom has accused the prime minister of Luxembourg of trying to "set up" Boris Johnson, amid a bitter row over Brexit.
US ambassador Woody Johnson said his country would "stand with the people of the UK" as he argued that the treatment of Mr Johnson by Xavier Bettel during a trip this week showed why they had voted to leave the European Union in the first place.
Mr Bettel on Monday pushed ahead with a press conference as he stood next to an empty podium meant for the UK Prime Minister following talks on Brexit.
Number 10 said Luxembourg had refused requests for the event to be moved inside to avoid being drowned out by a noisy protest.
The Luxembourg PM then tore into the UK's handling of Brexit and said European leaders would not accept any responsibility "for the mess we are in at the moment".
But The Telegraph reports that Ambassador Johnson hit back at the Mr Bettel in a speech to the Carlton Club on Tuesday.
He said: "The people who built the greatest empire, the people who held off the Nazis, who contributed so much to the progress of mankind, you can go down a long list - they don’t need a lecture from anybody on how to run their country, and that includes Brussels."
Backing the UK Prime Minister's handling of the Luxembourg trip, Ambassador Johnson added: "He knew this was a set up. Of course he knew, but he’s British. He said: ‘What the hell. I can do this’."
And the top diplomat said: "I thought the people in Luxembourg accomplished something that maybe even Boris couldn’t accomplish - show this is not where (the British) want to be, over there, when they treat us like that - your Prime Minister."
Ambassador Johnson has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the US, and reportedly told the Carlton Club that the President Trump "cannot wait to do a deal" once Britain quits the EU.
"The minute the UK is out, America is in," he added.
"This is the real deal. So if you want it, you’re going to get it and you’re going to get a good one."