Press TV, London
British PM Boris Johnson has failed to make inroads in landing a major post-Brexit free trade deal worth tens of billions of pounds with the US after what seemed like a successful trip to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden. Critics point to Britain’s exit from the EU and the shaky Northern Ireland protocol as the main sticking point.
It was the usual glad-handing and bonhomie for the cameras but after a 90-minute discussion and photo op there would have been very little of substance for Boris Johnson to claim as marquee victories for his administration.
But the reluctance of President Joe Biden to guarantee a coveted free trade agreement worth nearly £300BN a year with London that would have been the most bitter pill to swallow.
Britain’s exit from the EU and the fallout from the shaky NI protocol was cited as a major sticking point though President Biden attempted to downplay the link.
Johnson tried to shrug off suggestions the prospects of a deal were ‘disappearing.’
Analyst across the Atlantic are certain both issues are intrinsically linked but crucially, it also undermines Johnson’s Brexit credentials.
It would have been a political triumph for Boris Johnson returning from a successful White House trip and unveil the details of a free trade deal with Washington worth hundreds of billions of pounds on the floor of the House of Commons. Johnson now finds himself empty handed, playing the waiting game and wondering if his EU exit gamble has paid off.
Boris Johnson will head back to face his ministers to perhaps sell the idea of the UK joining the existing trade deal that exists between the US, Canada and Mexico. For many inside government – and indeed the wider Conservative party – it may well feel like a backward step.