Trade deal unlikely if Brexit plans approved, says US diplomat

#Brexit special section

Any chance of a ‘massive’ trade deal between the UK and US will vanish if Theresa May’s Brexit plans are approved by MPs this month, a senior diplomat has warned.

President Donald Trump’s offer of a ‘quick, massive’ bilateral trade deal promised an exciting future for the UK, the US Ambassador to London Wood Johnson claimed.

But he told Radio 4’s Today programme that it could only take place if Mrs May’s EU withdrawal agreement was voted down by MPs in Parliament.

President Trump is known to be against Mrs May’s plans, describing them as a ‘great deal for the EU’ last year.

Mr Johnson said: “We’re still going through the stages of deciding exactly where the country (the UK) is going.”

“If it goes in a way that allows these kinds of agreements to occur then I think that will be very positive in the president’s eyes.”

He said a UK-US trade deal could be “the precursor of future deals with other countries around the world that will really take you way, way into an exciting future.”

But when asked if it could be possible if Mrs May’s Brexit deal is approved, he said he didn’t think it would be.

Mr Johnson also said that the UK was in ‘need of leadership’ over Brexit and that MPs were frustrated over the process.

“You can see the frustration in members of parliament trying to navigate what the people wanted when they voted on the referendum,” he said.

He added that the defeatism he had encountered here over Brexit had surprised him and that the future could be ‘extremely bright’ after the UK leaves the EU.

“The reporting looks back at a static rather than an active British future about solving problems, entrepreneurialism, taking advantage of opportunities and being innovative.”

“If you look back and try to project the past into the present and future, it’s going to be bleak.

“But you’re leaving out the great thing that Britain has to offer and that is all of the people and all of their efforts and their ability to solve problems.

“If you factor that in, I think the future is extremely positive, extremely bright.”

Mr Johnson also said it would be “great” if President Trump’s postponed state visit could go ahead in May, around the time of World War Two commemorations.

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