Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Dominic Raab says US special relationship will stay strong whoever wins

Britain’s special relationship with the US will stay strong whoever wins the bitterly contested election, Dominic Raab has said.

The Foreign Secretary said the ‘bedrock’ of the relationship was based on strong economic and cultural ties, but he admitted it would be different depending on whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump wins the race.

President Trump has been a staunch supporter of Brexit and a UK-US trade deal, but a Biden administration is expected to be much cooler on the idea.

Biden, who has Irish ancestry, has publicly criticised the Government over its plan to tear up the Brexit divorce deal and break international law over the Northern Ireland protocol.

But Raab sought to play down the prospect of a strained relationship under a Biden administration, while also stressing it was still too close to call.

He told Sky News: ‘I’m not worried about the relationship. The contours of the opportunities and the risks always shift a little bit, but that needs to be set against the context of this bedrock and this wider set of interests which are so strong.’

He said he was ‘very confident that regardless of whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat win the British-US relationship is in great shape’.

When asked about Trump’s decision to go to the US Supreme Court to stop votes being counted, he said: ‘We respect the values of democracy and the checks and balances reflected in the US system, which we are very confident will produce a result.’

Despite the election process being far from over, Trump claimed a victory to his supporters and accused the Democrats of being involved in a ‘major fraud on our nation’.

Speaking at the White House earlier, the president said: ‘We were getting ready to win this election.  Frankly, we did win this election.’

The count is currently ongoing, with the Associated Press putting Joe Biden at 225 electoral college votes, with Trump trailing slightly at 213. Whoever clinches 270 or more votes will win.

Trump branded the close race between him and Joe Biden ‘an embarrassment to the American people’.

But Team Biden have since hit back, saying: ‘The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect.’

They vowed to launch their own legal challenge should Trump try to officially call the election before all ballots are counted.

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