Britain hoping for an early trade deal with US
Downing Street has welcomed Donald Trump's pledge to work to secure a rapid trade agreement with Britain.
In an interview with 'The Times' and German newspaper 'Bild', the US president-elect said he would be inviting British Prime Minister Theresa May for early talks in Washington following his inauguration on Friday and predicted that leaving the European Union would be a "great thing" for the UK.
In contrast to Barack Obama, who said Britain would be at the "back of the queue" when it came to a trade deal with the US, Mr Trump made clear it would be a priority for his administration.
"We're going to work hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides," he said. "I will be meeting with (Mrs May). She's requesting a meeting and we'll have a meeting right after I get into the White House. I think we're going to get something done very quickly."
Responding to the comments, Mrs May's official spokeswoman said: "We welcome the commitment from the president-elect to engage with the UK on this, to work together to agree a deal quickly.
"That highlights one of the opportunities of the UK leaving the EU."
The spokeswoman said Mrs May's expected visit to Washington in the spring would provide an opportunity for "early discussions" on a UK-US trade deal.
She said it would be possible to hold "scoping discussions" before Brexit takes place on possible measures to bring down barriers to UK-US trade.
"We welcome the enthusiasm and energy the president-elect and his team are showing for engaging with the UK," she said.
Former UK cabinet minister Michael Gove interviewed the controversial tycoon, and afterwards said Britain has a "special place" in Mr Trump's heart.
Mr Trump's "aggressive" public persona is at odds with his warmer private side, Mr Gove said.