Nigel Farage has welcomed a suggestion by US presidential hopeful Jeb Bush that a transatlantic trade deal could be struck with the UK even if it severed ties with the European Union.
The Ukip leader said the Republican candidate was adopting a "common sense" approach to UK-US relations by suggesting a trade deal could be struck between Washington and Britain.
Mr Bush told the Breitbart website that Washington should not attempt to "bully" the UK into remaining in the EU after US trade representative Michael Froman indicated the White House was "not in the market" for deals with individual countries.
The former Florida governor said: "The United States needs a strong Europe, and we have a special relationship and historic bond with Great Britain. As I've stressed in my conversations with British and European leaders, in light of growing dangers from Russia in the East and terrorism from North Africa and the Middle East, I believe a strong transatlantic alliance is as important as ever for US national security.
"Great Britain is a sovereign nation, and they must make this decision about their relationship with Europe on their own. The US should not be putting a thumb on the scale and certainly shouldn't bully an ally.
"That said, as president, if Great Britain made that decision of course the US would work with them on a trade agreement."
Mr Farage said the White House hopeful was "right to say a UK outside of EU would reach trade agreement with America".
"There's a world of opportunity out there for an independent Britain free to negotiate global trade deals," he added.