Boost for Boris Johnson as Donald Trump says 'fantastic and big' US-UK trade deal 'moving along rapidly'
Boris Johnson's post-Brexit plans have been given a major boost after Donald Trump said the US and the UK were moving “rapidly” towards a “fantastic and big” trade deal.
The US president said he and Mr Johnson were “very much aligned” after the pair discussed the post-Brexit trade relationship during a phone call on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters en route to a campaign rally, Mr Trump said: “I think we'll make a fantastic and big trade deal with the UK. That's moving along rapidly.
"We should do much more business than we're doing."
But asked about the relationship between the two countries, he added: “I don't want to say closest ally, because it would make others jealous. But certainly it's one of our closest."
The comments come after US National Security Adviser John Bolton visited London on a two-day trip to meet ministers on Monday and Tuesday, where he said the US was “ready to negotiate” sector-by-sector deals as soon as the UK leaves the European Union.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson, who has repeatedly talked up the benefits of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US, said thrashing out the deal would still be a “tough old haggle”.
“In my experience the Americans are very tough negotiators indeed, and we will do a great deal with them and it will open up opportunities for UK business, particularly service companies in the US," he told Sky News.
“But it will be a tough old haggle - but we will get there."
He added: “The US market is growing very fast for the UK, but they still ban haggis, for heaven's sake."
The talks come as an American farming boss, Zippy Duvall insisted the UK must accept US food standards such as chlorinated chicken in any new trade deal.
The American Farm Bureau chief said he believes Congress would vote down a US-UK deal that did not include a major boost for agriculture imports.
But he dismissed fears from MPs about the safety of chlorine washed meat, saying there was "no scientific basis" for their concerns.