Boris Johnson talks 'substantial' post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump in first call as PM
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have agreed to start post-Brexit trade talks "as soon as possible" in their first call since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister.
According to Downing Street. the US President Donald Trump said talks about a “very substantial” trade deal would get under way once Britain leaves the European Union.
While the UK is in the EU it cannot sign its own trade deals.
The latest Brexit deadline is due on 31 October.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: "This evening the Prime Minister spoke to President Trump, who congratulated him on his new role.
"They discussed the important relationship between our countries and the President’s successful State Visit to the UK last month.
"They agreed that Brexit offers an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the economic partnership between the UK and United States."
The spokesperosn added: "The leaders both expressed their commitment to delivering an ambitious free trade agreement and to starting negotiations as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.
"The Prime Minister and the President also discussed the current tensions with Iran and the need to work together and with partners to address their destabilising behaviour in the Gulf."
The call came after Mr Johnson clashed with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over the role the National Health Service might play in any post-Brexit tieu-up between the two countries.
Speaking earlier this week, Mr Corbyn said the new Prime Minister “would effectively make us a vassal state to Trump’s America” and urged Mr Johnson to rule out access to the NHS for US firms under “any trade deal with President Trump”.
But Mr Johnson, making his House of Commons debut as Prime Minister, told MPs that “under no circumstances” would NHS contracts be opened up to American firms in a trade deal, adding “it is not for sale.”
The US Congress must approve any deal between the two countries and both Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, and the Irish American caucus have repeatedly said that if Brexit leads to a hard border in Ireland they will not endorse a deal.