Boris Johnson has called for the UK-US partnership to be called the “indestructible relationship” instead of the special relationship.
Johnson said after his first in-person meeting with Joe Biden yesterday that you could also call it the “deep and meaningful relationship”, because it is “a relationship that has endured for a very long time, and has been an important part of peace and prosperity both in Europe and around the world”.
Biden said last night that he and Johnson “affirmed the special relationship between our people and renewed out commitment to the democratic values we share” in their meeting before today’s G7 summit.
It was revealed in an article in the Atlantic this week that the Prime Minister does not like the special relationship label as he thinks it makes Britain look “needy”.
The term first came to popular use after a 1946 speech by Johnson’s idol Winston Churchill.
Speaking to the BBC last night, he said: “Look I don’t mind the phrase ‘special relationship’ because it is special.
“But you know, it encompasses a reality which is that the UK and the US have a real congruence of views on some stuff that really matters to the world.”
Johnson’s meeting with Biden yesterday was marred by the revelation that a senior US diplomat had rebuked UK-EU minister Lord David Frost for his negotiating tactics with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It was revealed by The Times that Yael Lempert recently handed Frost a demarche – an official diplomatic rebuke – for “inflaming tensions” with the EU over the future of checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It was also widely reported that Biden would tell Johnson that a future UK-US trade deal could hinge on him settling the row and protecting the Good Friday Peace Agreement, which America is a guarantor for.
When asked if Biden rebuked Johnson over the post-Brexit row, Johnson said: “Well, he, no, no, the president didn’t say anything of the kind.
“But what I think you can certainly say is that everybody, and that includes me, it includes our friends in Brussels, it includes Washington, everybody has a massive interest in making sure that we keep the essential symmetry of the Good Friday Agreement, we keep the balance.”
The G7 summit will officially begin in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, today with a series of joint meetings.
Johnson will also hold bilateral meetings with all the other G7 leaders in Cornwall.