Boris Johnson today refused to tell Donald Trump to throw in the towel over the US presidential election as the Prime Minister lavished praise on Joe Biden.
Mr Johnson declined to be drawn on whether the White House incumbent should ditch his legal challenges against the result of the poll.
The premier said he did not ‘wish to offer any other commentary’ on the matter after he insisted the UK will have a good relationship with the US regardless of who is president.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said ‘yes, this country has had a good relationship with the White House over the last few years’ during Mr Trump’s time in office.
But the PM said the UK has had ‘a good relationship with the White House for many, many years and I have no doubt that we will continue to have a very, very strong, very close relationship with our American friends’.
His comments came amid fears that Mr Johnson could be snubbed by Mr Biden as the President-elect begins to call other world leaders.
Boris Johnson today refused to tell Donald Trump to throw in the towel over the US election as he lavished praise on Joe Biden
Mr Johnson again congratulated Mr Biden on becoming President-elect as he spoke glowingly about the Democrat’s policies on climate change and Nato
Democratic sources have questioned whether Mr Johnson is an ‘ally’, with Mr Biden having previously described him as a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of Mr Trump.
Mr Biden is also said to still be angry about Mr Johnson’s past criticism of Barack Obama.
Downing Street today confirmed that the two men are yet to speak after diplomatic sources said the PM was unlikely to be ‘top of the list’.
The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said it is ‘not something we are concerned about’ when asked whether it mattered if Mr Johnson was the first world leader Mr Biden speaks to.
Mr Johnson continued his charm offensive towards Mr Biden at this evening’s press conference as he spoke glowingly of the President-elect’s stance on climate change and Nato.
The PM said: ‘On the US elections I just want to repeat what I have said before, that I really congratulate President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris who is going to be the first ever female vice president of the United States.
‘Yes, this country has had a good relationship with the White House over the last few years but it has had a good relationship with the White House for many, many years and I have no doubt that we will continue to have a very, very strong, very close relationship with our American friends.
‘One thing that is very exciting that you are already seeing from the incoming administration is their willingness to join the UK in the campaign to tackle climate change and as you know we are hosting the COP26 summit in Glasgow next year.
‘The UK has been leading in calling, the first major economy, to call for countries to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and suddenly with the advent of President-elect Biden we are seeing the US really willing to take a lead too on climate change which I think is great news to say nothing of Nato and all sorts of other things.’
Asked directly whether he believed Mr Trump should throw in the towel and formally concede the US election, Mr Johnson would not be drawn.
Mr Trump is yet to formally concede the US election and he has vowed to launch legal challenges against the result
‘Look, I don’t wish to offer any other commentary on the US election,’ he said.
‘Our friends in America have their processes. It is not for me to offer commentary on it though I clearly want to congratulate President-elect Biden.’
British diplomats believe Mr Biden is likely to speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron before Mr Johnson.
One source said: ‘Look, we’re probably not top of the list for the first phone call.
‘Are some people in government fretting about that? Yes, but you can read too much into it. If we find ourselves being called after Papua New Guinea then we should probably start to worry.’