Mike Pence says US ‘stands with’ UK over Brexit ahead of meeting PM
Mike Pence has said the US “stands with” the UK’s decision to pursue Brexit ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The US vice president said his country “respects the will of the people” and offered “support” over the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Mr Pence travelled to London overnight and will meet the politically embattled Mr Johnson on Thursday.
His visit follows a trip to Dublin where he urged Ireland and the EU to negotiate a Brexit deal that respects the UK’s sovereignty.
Mr Pence met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and encouraged him to negotiate with Mr Johnson in “good faith” to reach an agreement that minimised disruption to commerce.
Speaking to reporters in Iceland on Wednesday, where he attended a trade and investment meeting, Mr Pence said: “The United States of America stands with the United Kingdom in its decision to leave the European Union.
“That was a decision that was made by the people of the United Kingdom in a referendum, now the better part of three years ago.
“I’ll be travelling tonight to London. I’ll be meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and discussing just that.”
Mr Pence said the US recognised that Brexit was “a complex issue” and his recent travels had reminded him of “the challenges that the Republic of Ireland faces having a contiguous border with the United Kingdom”.
“We remember the historic achievements of the Good Friday Agreement,” he added.
“Make no mistake about it, America respects the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, respects the will of the people of the United Kingdom and we respect and support the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
“And we will continue to express that support and hope to see the European Union and the United Kingdom come together around that negotiating table that Prime Minister Johnson spoke of just a few days ago and reach an agreement that will meet the needs of the aspirations of the people of the United Kingdom and also provide for an orderly Brexit.”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: “Boris Johnson must finally show the backbone he has lacked in all his previous dealings with the Trump administration.
“The Prime Minister must stand up to them on Climate Change, on the Iran nuclear deal, and their wilful worsening of division and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, but also stand up to Mike Pence personally regarding his abhorrent views on the LGBT+ community and the reproductive rights of women.”