Barack Obama leaves the UK - but not before making more Brexit comments


Barack Obama has jetted out of Britain, as politicians continue to argue over his dramatic intervention in the Brexit battle.

Obama provoked a whirlwind of both cheers and jeers during what is likely to be his his final visit to the country as US president.

Obama walks up the steps to his plane
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Before leaving, Obama launched a fresh intervention into the Brexit battle, warning the UK would have to wait up to a decade for a trade deal with America if it quits the EU.

Unbowed by a furious backlash from the Leave camp against his "interference" in British affairs during his visit to London, Obama reinforced his stark statement that the UK would be at "the back of the queue" for a beneficial economic arrangement if it breaks away from Brussels.

"My simple point is that it's hard to negotiate trade deals. It takes a long time, and the point is that the UK would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU.

"We wouldn't abandon our efforts to negotiate a trade deal with our largest trading partner, the European market, but rather it could be five years from now, 10 years from now, before we were able to actually get something done," Obama told the BBC.

Obama waves as he leaves the UK
(Jens Meyer/AP)

Denying that he was a "lame duck" president - as Justice Minister Dominic Raab had alleged - Obama delivered a direct slap-down to the Brexit camp who had claimed the UK could cut a speedy deal with the US.

"The point I was simply making was that for those who suggested that, you know, if we could just not be entangled with the Europeans, our special relationship is going to mean that we can just cut the line and just get a quick deal with the United States, and it will be a lot more efficient, and that's not how we think about it.

"I don't think that's how the next administration will think about it, because our preference would be to work with this large bloc of countries," Obama said.

The president made it consistently clear that he believed it would be damaging for the British economy to quit the EU.

Obama arrives in Germany
(Jens Meyer/AP)

Obama has now landed in Germany, where he will finish his tour of the Middle East and Europe.