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State Visit

Donald Trump says the UK should send in Nigel Farage to handle Brexit negotiations

Trump also said the UK should send in Nigel Farage to negotiate.

THE UK SHOULD strive for a no-deal Brexit with the EU and refuse to pay the agreed £39 billion (€45 billion) divorce bill, US President Donald Trump has said. 

Trump also said that Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage should be sent in to negotiating his country’s exit from the European Union.

Trump made the statements in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper ahead of the president’s state visit to England.

The comments cone after Trump told The Sun he thought former foreign secretary Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” prime minister to take over from Theresa May.

May is due to step down on 7 June after failing on multiple occasions to get her EU Brexit leaving bill through parliament.

“I like Nigel a lot,” Trump said of Farage. “He has a lot to offer”.

He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.

 State visit

Trump is to embark on a three-day visit from tomorrow, during which he will meet Queen Elizabeth II and have talks with May.

He’s due to arrive in Ireland on Wednesday to spend two nights at his Doonbeg resort. A tight security operation is in place for Trump’s Ireland visit, with protests also planned. 

In his interview with the Sunday Times, he urged the UK government to follow his rule book in negotiating deals when it came to Brexit.

“If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away… If you don’t get the deal you want, if you don’t get a fair deal, then you walk away,” he said.

On the divorce bill – the UK’s liabilities as it leaves the EU – Trump said:

If I were them I wouldn’t pay $50 billion. That is me. I would not pay, that is a tremendous number.

Trump said that a future trade deal with the US would make up for lost trade with the EU and that he would “go all out” to help them get a deal. 

I would go all out. It would be a great advantage to the the UK. A tremendous advantage

Conservative split

Brexit was due to have happened in March this year but as been pushed back twice as the UK parliament on a number of accusations failed to pass measures to actually leave.  

The Conservative party under May and the parliament are split over what sort of Brexit they want: either a total break from the EU, or a closer relationship that implies accepting EU rules on trade and immigration.

The issue of the Irish backstop – the measures needed to ensure that there will no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland – has been one of the most contentious issues. 

After failing repeatedly to get her vision of Brexit passed, May has been forced to announce she will step down on Friday.

More than a dozen Conservative MPs have thrown their hat in the ring to take over as party leader and prime minister, with Boris Johnson seen as an early favourite.

Large protests are planned during Trump’s visit to London.

The mayor of the capital, Sadiq Khan, said today in a piece in The Observer that the US president was “one of the most egregious examples” of a growing global threat from the far-right.

Khan said Trump’s “divisive behaviour flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom”.

He added that populist politicians such as Farage and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban “are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but are using new sinister methods to deliver their message”.

- © AFP, 2019 With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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