Raab insists UK-US relationship will remain strong whoever is in White House
The UK Government has insisted the special relationship with the US will endure whoever wins the bitterly contested election.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the “bedrock” of the relationship was based on strong economic, security and cultural ties, although he acknowledged the “contours” would be different depending on whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump won the election.
President Trump has been a staunch supporter of Brexit and a UK-US trade deal, but a Biden administration is expected to be cooler on the idea.
Mr Biden, who has Irish ancestry, has publicly criticised the Government over its plan to tear up the Brexit divorce deal and break international law over the Northern Ireland protocol.
Mr Raab sought to play down the prospect of a strained relationship under a Biden administration and stressed that the US election was still too close to call.
Mr Raab told Sky News: “I’m not worried about the relationship. The contours of the opportunities and the risks always shift a little bit, but that needs to be set against the context of this bedrock and this wider set of interests which are so strong.”
He said he was “very confident that regardless of whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat win the British-US relationship is in great shape”.
Asked about Mr Trump’s decision to go to the US Supreme Court to stop votes being counted, Mr Raab said: “We respect the values of democracy and the checks and balances reflected in the US system, which we are very confident will produce a result.”
Mr Trump has claimed victory despite the election process being far from over and accused opponents of being involved in a “major fraud on our nation”.
Asked if it would be good to “call your close friend out”, Mr Raab told the BBC: “Well I think that you’re now engaging in the campaign rather than just reporting on it.
“But the truth is, I think what’s really important now is we wait and see how this uncertainty unfolds.”
Mr Biden treasures his Irish heritage and has warned that a UK-US trade deal is “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the island and the prevention of a return to a hard border.
“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” he warned in September.
The Foreign Secretary said Democrats take a “very close interest” in the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed while Bill Clinton was in the White House.
Mr Raab said he had met Democrats and “explained the UK position and that actually we have been clear all along that there is no threat to the Good Friday Agreement”.