Donald Trump has said he is looking forward to working with Boris Johnson and thinks he will “work out Brexit”.
The US president said he spoke to the Conservative leadership hopeful on Thursday, with less than a week to go before either the former London mayor or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt becomes prime minister.
Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he “looks forward to working with him” and “thinks he will work out Brexit”, adding that Theresa May “did a bad job” negotiating with the EU.
Mr Johnson remains the runaway favourite to win the contest following the final hustings event earlier this week, and he has long had the backing of Mr Trump.
The Republican has repeatedly shared his admiration for Mr Johnson, who has been criticised on several occasions for an apparent unwillingness to speak out against the president.
Earlier this month, Mr Johnson was accused of throwing the former British ambassador to the US “under a bus” for refusing to pledge his support for him during a head-to-head TV debate.
Sir Kim Darroch resigned over leaked memos in which he described the Trump administration as “inept”, prompting an angry Twitter outburst from the president.
But Mr Johnson has insisted that he will “continue to be robust” with Mr Trump if he succeeds Mrs May.
He has pointed to his criticism of comments made by Mr Trump in which he told four US congresswomen to “go back” to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came” as evidence of his willingness to speak out against the president, although he has declined to condemn those remarks as racist.
Like many Tory members, Mr Trump is a fan of the “do or die” approach to leaving the EU adopted by Mr Johnson, who has promised to take Britain out of the bloc as planned by 31 October.
But the potential tactic of shutting down parliament to force through a no-deal exit has been made more difficult thanks to an extraordinary intervention from Conservative MPs.
Cabinet members including Chancellor Philip Hammond abstained on a crucial vote designed to make it harder for the next prime minister to close parliament in the run up to Brexit.
Mr Johnson had refused to rule out trying to do it and was non-committal on his plans for a Queen’s speech should he become prime minister when asked during the final leadership hustings.
Parliament is usually prorogued for between one and two weeks ahead of a Queen’s speech, meaning MPs would in effect be unavailable to stop a no-deal Brexit immediately before 31 October.
Sky News reported earlier this week that Mr Johnson was considering scheduling one to mark the start of a new parliamentary session in early November.
Source: SKY NEWS