Biden breaks ice as he ‘looks forward’ in tense Brexit deal talks with Liz Truss

Joe Biden appeared prepared to compromise his previously hardline over Britain’s Brexit row with the EU as he and Liz Truss held their first talks since she replaced Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

The two met today at the United Nations in New York, just days after he attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

Amid tensions over Northern Ireland, Mr Biden, who previously has backed the EU over enforcing the protocol, said: “We are both committed to protecting the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, I am looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind and how we can continue to cooperate.”

The meeting took place following a number of flashpoints in the run up which heightened tensions between the two key allies in Nato.

President Biden had made a remark attacking “trickle down economics” shortly after Ms Truss had effectively announced it as her economic policy.

But of more concern was the Biden administration’s refusal to consider the UK position on Northern Ireland in the brexit protocol row with the eU amid fears that Brussels is attempting to break up the UK.

Mr Biden’s comments ahead of the meeting had appeard to suggest he believed Brexit was putting the peace process at risk and Ms Truss had admitted that she had given up on a UK/ US trade deal while he was still President.

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had further fanned the flames with a visit to Ireland this week.

But in front of the cameras Mr Biden struck a conciliatory note as he acknowledged the UK was his country’s closest and most important ally.

He extended his congratulations to Ms Truss on becoming Prime Minister and added: “I look forward to working closely with you.

“You are our closest ally in the world, there is a lot we can do and continue to do together.”

He pointed out that they were in lockstep over the war in Ukraine and a range of other issues.

He noted: “There is no issue of global consequence where the United States and the Unite Kingdom are not working in cooperation and I expect we will continue to be able to do that.”

As with the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron it appeared that the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the state funeral had brought Britain’s allies closer together and more able to put differences aside.

Mr Biden said: “Madam Prime Minister I want to again express our condolences for the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.

“It was an honour for my wife and I to be able to pay our respects at her lying in state and attend the state funeral in London.

“I was amazed and overwhelmed by the affection of the British people and the world quite frankly – the thousands upon thousands of people who stayed all night to pay their respects.”

Ms Truss thanked the President for his welcome and his attendance at the Queen’s funeral.

She said: “I have seen an enormous outpouring f love for her her in the UK but also here in the US.”

The Prime Minister went on: “As you say Mr President we are steadfast allies.”

She also confiirmed that the UK would move to 3 percent on GDP on ddefence spending because of the increasing problem of autocracies like Russia and China exertingmore power.

On Brexit she added: “Of course, I am looking forward to discussing the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and we make sure that is upheld into the future.”

The Prime Minister is currently pushing legislation through Parliament to allow the rest of the UK to export meat, medicines and other goods to Northern Ireland which it currently would not be able to do when the protocol is fully implemented.

It will also allow Northern Ireland to enjoy VAT cuts which it also is excluded from because it is trapped in the EU single market.

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The EU has threatened a trade war and refused to compromise on the issue currently with the backing of the Biden administration.

Yesterday Ms Truss met with French President Emmanuel Macron but avoided the issue, however, she did have talks today with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

After the meeting, President Biden took to social media to emphasise the need for western unity in the face of Russian agression.

He Tweeted: “Today, I joined fellow leaders at the United Nations General Assembly with one resounding message: the nations of the world are united still. Let us stand together to declare our resolve. And bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children.”

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  • 4 часа, 38 минут назад 25.09.2022Politics
    ‘Just the start!’: Kwarteng says more to come as Truss promises ‘decade of dynamism’

    Mr Kwarteng revealed the pace of change would be stepped up as the new Government embarked on “a new approach for a new era”. And last night Liz Truss weighed in by vowing to unleash a “decade of dynamism” to reshape the fabric of Britain. The PM was unapologetic about her vision of a low-tax economy, despite howls of criticism from Labour MPs and think tanks.

    She spent the weekend at Chevening, the Government country retreat in Kent, drawing up her battle plan of what to do next. Ms Truss vowed that she would be defined by “taking tough choices and doing things differently” from her Tory predecessors.

    “We will usher in a decade of dynamism by focusing relentlessly on economic growth,” she added.

    Action to tackle the migrant boat crisis, combat rising crime and slash NHS waiting lists are among the top priorities and major announcements to follow in the weeks ahead.

    And last night, a Government source said: “You ain’t seen nothing yet. Liz said she’d hit that ground running and that’s exactly what she and Kwasi have done.

    “There’s lots more in the pipeline. Watch this space.”

    Mr Kwarteng set the Government on course on Friday by slashing a penny off income tax, cutting stamp duty and scrapping the 45p top rate of tax for the biggest earners.

    Yesterday he brushed off criticism of his measures, insisting new investment zones he set up would “create well-paid jobs”.

    And he added that cutting stamp duty would help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.

    His plans were also backed by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Philp.

    Brushing off criticism the mini-Budget was a huge gamble, the MP for Croydon South said the tax-slashing programme is “not a gamble, it’s a necessity”.

    “We’re going to do what’s right. We’re going to get growth delivered,” he said.

    “And we’re not going to worry about the politics of envy, or the optics of it.”

    Mr Philp added the growth plan was important “to increase wages, to create new high-paid jobs, encourage investment, get Britain moving and produce the tax revenue to fund public services – and British business agrees”.

    Tory advocates for low tax are excited at what they see as the return of “true-blue policies.”

    Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg was among those who hailed the Government’s “Growth Plan” as “true blue Conservatism”.

    “Our Growth Plan will build a better Britain,” he said.

    “Sunday Express readers deserve better jobs, higher wages and effective public services, which is only possible if we grow the economy. That’s why we’re taking action to turbocharge investment and opportunities.

    “We will cut taxes to put more money in your pocket – because people and businesses always spend their own money more wisely than bureaucrats.

    “This is a return to common sense values to ignite growth.”

    The Prime Minister dismissed claims that the tax cuts would benefit the rich more than the poor in an article for the Mail on Sunday. “Growth means families have more money in their pockets, more people can work in highly paid jobs and more businesses can invest in their future,” Ms Truss wrote.

    “It provides more money to fund our public services, like schools, the NHS and the police.

    “We will be unapologetic in this pursuit…everything we do will be tested against whether it helps our economy to grow or holds it back.”

  • 4 часа, 38 минут назад 25.09.2022Politics
    Britain targets Pacific trading bloc in bid for £18BN boost ‘Top priority’

    Britain is racing to complete negotiations to join a trading bloc of 11 Pacific-facing countries with a combined GDP of £9trillion in a move it is hoped could boost British exports by £18billion. Prime Minister Liz Truss has said that joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a “top priority”.

    In Japan, Mr Cleverly will attend the state funeral of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On his Korean visit, he will visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) bordering North Korea, and in Singapore, he will set out Britain’s vision for the region at a major summit.

    He said: “As I start my visit to the region in Japan, my thoughts are with the Japanese people as we remember the legacy of former Prime Minister Abe – their longest-serving prime minister who brought our two countries closer together.”

    The UK has a long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, as we look to establish a greater and more persistent presence than any other European country.

    “This in turn will boost economic development, strengthen trade ties and enhance security”.

    His visit comes as the UK kicks off a major series of exercises in the Indo-Pacific. Members of the armed forces will train with counterparts from Australia, Japan, Korea and other nations in the region.

    According to the Ministry of Defence, the Indo-Pacific is “critical” to the UK’s economy, security and “global ambition to support open societies”.

    Four Typhoon fighters and one Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft from the RAF took part in Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin, Australia.

    Around 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 countries participated in the epic training exercise.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific remains paramount, and with the Pitch Black exercises and the persistent presence of the Royal Navy in the Pacific, we are able to demonstrate our commitment and shared responsibility across the region and further strengthen our close ties with friends and allies.”

    The Foreign Office says the visit by the 53-year-old Braintree MP Mr Cleverly, who served as Education Secretary in the final era of Boris Johnson’s Government, demonstrates the importance of the “Indo-Pacific tilt” – the UK’s policy of strengthening its influence in the region.

    Britain describes Japan as its “closest security partner in Asia” and Japan has backed the UK’s application to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  • 6 часов, 38 минут назад 25.09.2022Politics
    ‘None of his business!’ Joe Biden warned to butt out of talks on hated Brexit deal

    Joe Biden has been warned a hated Brexit deal is “none of his business” as the President holds talks with Liz Truss. The US President has been outspoken about the Northern Ireland Protocol, and warned the Prime Minister any changes to the deal cannot threaten the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

    Kate Hoey wrote that the Northern Ireland Protocol is “none of Biden’s business”, and added: “The US president should stay out of the affairs of the United Kingdom.”

    She noted that Mr Biden had pictures taken with Rita O’Hare, Sinn Féin representative to the US, and wrote letters to the Senate on the behalf of the IRA.

    In 1985, the future US President wrote on official Senate notepaper to reject attempts to remove the political exemption clause from the US extradition treaty with the UK in a bid to stop former IRA member Joe Doherty from being sent back to Britain.

    She also referenced how after his inauguration in 2021, Mr Biden was asked a question by a BBC journalist, to which he responded: “The BBC? I’m Irish.”

    Writing for Spiked, Ms Hoey then referenced Lord David Trimble, who was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

    Lord Trimble, who died on July 25, regularly hit out at the Northern Ireland Protocol, which he said made him “betrayed”.

    In a letter published in 2021, he said: “The protocol rips the very heart out of the agreement, which I and they believed safeguarded Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom and ensured that democracy not violence, threat of violence or outside interference, would or could ever change that.

    “Make no mistake about it, the protocol does not safeguard the Good Friday Agreement.”

    Ms Hoey then said it that “clearly, President Biden is not exactly keen on Northern Ireland remaining an integral part of the UK”, before saying “he is therefore no friend of the Union”.

    She said: “PM Truss has not indulged his Irish-American fantasies and nor should she. He will be desperate to have a state visit to the UK next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast agreement.

    “However, until the Protocol has gone there will be no restoration of devolved government at Stormont. Unionism is determined to stick to the mandate it received in the May assembly elections – that Northern Ireland can either have the protocol or an executive, but not both.

    “The Irish government, despite its rhetoric, knows all this. It too wants Biden to visit the UK, preferably before Ireland’s next General Election.

    “Now that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill has been allocated an early date for a second reading in the House of Lords, President Biden, the EU and the Irish government should understand that the prime minister means business. Biden’s blarney wont work.”

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    The Biden administration raised the Protocol with Ms Truss in her first bilateral talks with the President in New York on Wednesday.

    In his televised opening remarks at the start of the meeting, signalling their significance, Mr Biden told the Prime Minister: “We are both committed to protecting the Good Friday agreement of Northern Ireland. I’m looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind.”

    While the primary focus of the trip for Truss has been tackling Russian aggression in Ukraine, it raises concerns the new prime minister was letting the issue “drift”, despite her promises.

    It comes after the UK set a six-month deadline to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol row, by the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

    The Government believes the date in April 2023 is a key moment to get the Northern Ireland executive up and running again, with unionist parties blocking the power-sharing institutions as part of a protest against post-Brexit trading rules.

    A Westminster source told the Telegraph: “What we want to do is protect and restore the Good Friday Agreement.

    “And both of us [Britain and the US] are looking at the 25th anniversary next year as a key decision point, but the big obstacle to that being the lack of an Executive at the moment.

    “The 25th anniversary is a key pivot moment, which is Easter next year. If you don’t have an Executive Assembly by then, that’s pretty bad all round.

    “It’s an important place in the electoral cycle, for the Biden administration as well… So that’s the kind of primary focus which is an absolutely shared focus.”

  • 6 часов, 38 минут назад 25.09.2022Politics
    No fracking chance unless King Charles gives property rights to the people, Truss warned

    A former energy minister has told Liz Truss that if she wants people to accept fracking in their communities then she needs to change the law to give them a share of the profits. Tory grandee Sir Michael Fallon told Express.co.uk that he “tried for a year to get fracking to work” but warned that property rights had made it “impossible”.

    Sir Michael, who is also a former Defence Secretary, spoke to Express.co.uk ahead of new Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg confirming that the Government plans to issue 100 licences for shale gas extraction.

    During his statement in the Commons he was besieged by both Tory backbenchers and opposition MPs over demands over whether he would stick with the principle of local consent which has been a major stumbling block for fracking.

    Tory Fylde MP Mark Menzies demanded to know if the Prime Minister “is a woman of her word” in terms of ensuring local communities kept their veto.

    But Sir Michael warned that the real problem is property rights.

    He said: “They [the Government] can issue as many licences as they like but unless they change the law then it will prove to be impossible.

    “When I was energy minister I tried to get fracking to work for a year but the issue of property rights was the problem.

    “They question of who owns what underground.

    “Because people do not own what is underground it means that they do not benefit from its extraction.

    “But if they did then they might be able to make progress.”

    In 2015 he oversaw the Infrastructure Act which gave companies the right to drill under people’s homes for shale gas without the permission of landowners but also removed any liability for the landowner.

    However, drilling was limited by a earthquake tremor score of 0.5 which Mr Rees-Mogg has declared was “too low” and has been raised to 2.

    In the USA where fracking has been more widely accepted people who own the private property rights have been able to financially benefit from extraction.

    Currently the property rights belong to King Charles III through the Crown Estate, an arms length body.

    The King does not directly profit from Crown Estate whose money which goes to the Treasury.

    Instead the Sovereign Grant is paid to the Royal Family through Parliament each year in lieu of the funds from the Crown Estate.

    The Crown Estate holdings across the UK are thought to be worth about £14.1billion.

    The Government is pushing for more fracking to increase energy security and allow the UK not to rely on gas from Russia.

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  • 6 часов, 38 минут назад 25.09.2022Politics
    Bad news Emmanuel! Macron warned of furious Truss clashes with future ‘hostility’ ahead

    Emmanuel Macron has been warned he is on collision course with Liz Truss over Brexit and that fragile relations between Britain and France could get even worse. The UK’s new Prime Minister held talks with the French President at a UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday and the two leaders stressed the need for a “constructive relationship”. But they did not discuss the thorny Brexit issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol or illegal migrant crossings in the English Channel .

    The French Government threatened legal action against the UK during an explosive row over post-Brexit fishing licences for its fishermen, and have joined the EU in expressing anger over Britain’s position on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Both countries havealso been at loggerheasdsover how to stop the influx of illegal migrants across the English Channel.

    During the Tory leadership contest, Ms Truss risked sparking a diplomatic row when she declined to give a clear answer when asked during a hustings event if Mr Macron was a “friend or foe”, instead insisting the “jury’s out”.

    But prior to the meeting between the two leaders in New York earlier this week, a leading Frexiteer and critic of Mr Macron warned the early indications from Ms Truss’ premiership are not good news for the French President.

    Eric Noirez told Express.co.uk: “In view of the precedents and the obvious tensions between the two figures, and provided that Ms Truss matches her words with deeds in the direction she intends to take the UK, it seems clear that her accession to the post of Prime Minister is not at all good news for Emmanuel Macron.

    “The political line she will defend, respectful of Brexit and drawing a horizon where the European Union will legitimately have only an anecdotal place, will oppose head-on the totally Eurocentric and Eurofanatic vision of President Macron.

    “Liz Truss refused to answer the question of whether Macron was a friend or foe because she remembers Macron’s particularly indelicate and aggressive attitude during the post-Brexit negotiations on fisheries agreements.

    “The French President made unseemly threats and showed little inclination to accept, ultimately, the sovereign decision of the British people to regain control of their territory, and in particular their marine territory.

    “Through these frictions that we have seen in the post-Brexit maritime agreements – they are in fact perhaps only a foretaste of what the Franco-British relationship will be like in the months to come.

    “There are two deeply incompatible visions that are confronting each other, with Liz Truss on the one hand, who has become firmly Eurosceptic, and Emmanuel Macron on the other, who sees the future and the resolution of problems only through the illusory and very dogmatic prism of the European Union.”

    Despite their differences, Mr Noirez believes the two leaders actually have a lot in common and “logically, should get along well”.

    But he warned that might not be enough to hold their relationship together, and has predicted future “hostility” between Mr Truss and Mr Macron.

    The Frexiteer said: “It is amusing to note that, on paper, Truss and Macron have a lot in common – both are fervent Atlanticists, for example – and should logically get along well.

    “Truss has been described as the new Margaret Thatcher and Macron has often been described as a sort of French Margaret Thatcher.

    “And yet, despite their obvious ideological affinities, we can see that these two do not get along or like each other very much, because we see the question of the EU and national independence is the central and predominant question in the political debate in Europe.

    “It is a question that conditions the political projects of nations, and I think that it will inevitably have negative consequences for the Franco-British entente.

    “It is the cause of the hostility that can be felt between Macron and Truss. And it will amplify the current points of contention.”

    Mr Noirez also believes Ms Truss could yet follow through with threats to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which would rip up large parts if not all of the post-trading mechanism.

    Any such move would exacerbate tensions between the UK and the EU – likely leaving Mr Macron furious.

    He concluded: “On the specific issue of Ireland, which is becoming increasingly intractable, it seems to me very likely that Mrs Truss will sooner or later be forced to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    “Politically, diplomatically and legally, such a move would exacerbate tensions between the UK and the EU.

    “I have no doubt that such a scenario will not make Emmanuel Macron smile, because I believe that Britain will emerge stronger and more united and the EU weaker.”

  • 8 часов, 38 минут назад 24.09.2022Politics
    Awkward moment Labour MP insists Starmer is ‘very exciting’ but can’t think of example

    The awkward cringeworthy moment saw Labour frontbencher Lucy Powell hit back at LBC host Paul Brand’s claim that Sir Keir Starmer was not inspiring or exciting as a party leader. Ms Powell said Sir Keir can be “very exciting at times” – but then backtracked after she admitted she couldn’t name an example. She went on to insist that politics was not a “personality contest” as the cost of living begins to bite for many in the UK.

    The interview took place on the eve of the annual Labour Party conference, which kicks off tomorrow in Liverpool.

    Mr Brand, who also works as the UK editor of ITV News, told Ms Powell: “There are a few words I don’t hear people use to describe Keir Starmer.

    “Inspiring, for example, exciting, passionate. Is that a problem?”

    Ms Powell disagreed, insisting the Labour leader was “incredibly passionate about changing the country”.

    However, Mr Brand pressed the MP on whether Sir Keir was exciting, prompting Ms Powell to respond: “He can be very exciting at times.”

    The LBC host followed up: “Oh really? What’s the most exciting thing Keir Starmer’s done?”

    The shadow Culture Secretary embarrassingly then admitted: “I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.”

    Mr Brand said: “There you go! Look, you can argue he is a strong leader. That he is a principled leader.

    “But is he exciting? Is he going to be able to get the country going at an election? That does matter, whether you like it or not.”

    Ms Powell responded: “This isn’t a personality contest. These are really serious issues. We are at a crossroads in this country.

    “We are facing a really big cost of living crisis.

    “I’m less interested in those issues and more interested in whether he can take our country in the right direction, and I strongly believe he can.”

    This comes as an Ipsos MORI poll on Thursday put Labour 10 percent ahead of the Conservatives.

    However, pollsters at Ipsos warned that the party leader’s ratings were “so-so”.

    Ipsos pollster Kieran Pedley said: “We’re now getting to the stage where Starmer has to outline his vision for the country. People are still a bit unclear as to what the party stands for.”

    However, the survey again showed Sir Keir’s party in the lead, backed by 42 percent of voters compared to the Conservatives on 34 percent.

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Politics Biden breaks ice as he 'looks forward' in tense Brexit deal talks with Liz Truss