Thursday 21 November 2019

Trump weighs into the election, saying Corbyn would be 'so bad' for UK


Bercow bow: A passer-by takes a selfie with John Bercow on Westminster Bridge in London on his last day as Speaker of the House of Commons. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Bercow bow: A passer-by takes a selfie with John Bercow on Westminster Bridge in London on his last day as Speaker of the House of Commons. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

William Schomberg and Stephen Addison

US President Donald Trump waded into Britain's election campaign, saying the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, would be "so bad" for Britain if he wins.

In an interview with LBC radio, Mr Trump also called Prime Minister Boris Johnson a "fantastic man".

"Corbyn would be so bad for your country. He'd be so bad, he'd take you in such a bad way. He'd take you into such bad places," Mr Trump said.

His remarks came on the day Mr Corbyn opened Labour's campaign for the December 12 election.

The Labour leader launched an attack on what he called a corrupt elite which exploited workers, lied to the public and polluted the environment.

Mr Corbyn sought to cast the contest as a battle between the "elites" allied with the leader of the "born to rule" and the people.

To cheers from supporters, he hit out at "tax dodgers, bad bosses, big polluters and billionaire-owned media holding our country back".

Mr Corbyn, a veteran left-wing campaigner, responded to the US president's comments with a tweet which read: "Trump is trying to interfere in UK election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected."

Britain is heading for an early election because of an impasse in Parliament over Brexit, more than three years after voters there decided to leave the European Union.

In the radio interview, conducted yesterday by long-standing Eurosceptic Nigel Farage, head of the Brexit Party, Mr Trump praised Boris Johnson for trying to push ahead with leaving the European Union.

"Yes he has (spoken to me), and he also knows how difficult it is - he's in a very difficult position.

"And I think he's willing to do what no one else would do," he said.

Mr Trump urged Mr Farage to get his Brexit Party behind the prime minister.

"He's a fantastic man and I think he's the exact right guy for the times. And I know that you and him will end up doing something that could be terrific.

"If you and he get together it's, you know, unstoppable force."

Mr Farage responded by saying he would be "right behind" Mr Johnson, on condition the prime minister dropped the Brexit divorce deal he struck with the European Union two weeks ago and instead went for a "clean break" Brexit without a deal.

Mr Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, was previously accused of interfering in British politics when, before the Brexit referendum in 2016, he said Britain should stay in the EU and would go to "the back of queue" for a trade deal with the United States if it left.

In his interview yesterday, Mr Trump also denied claims by Labour that he wanted Britain to put its public National Health Service on the table in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington.

He also said Britain could do four to five times more trade with the United States, but might be prevented from doing a bilateral trade deal by the terms of the potential post-Brexit trade relationship which London and Brussels have set out.

"We want to do trade with UK, and they want to do trade with us," he said.

"And to be honest with you, this deal, under certain aspects of the deal - you can't do it, you can't do it, you can't trade. We can't make a trade deal with the UK.

"Under certain ways, we would be precluded, which would be ridiculous."

Mr Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit by January at the "absolute latest" if the Tories win the general election.

On the day Britain was supposed finally to leave the EU yesterday, the two main party leaders clashed over who was responsible for the continuing deadlock over Brexit more than three years after the referendum vote.

Mr Johnson - who pledged the UK would be out by the end of October "do or die" - was determined to point the finger of blame at a Parliament dominated by Remain-supporting MPs.

"There are just too many people who are basically opposed to Brexit, who want to frustrate it," he told reporters during a visit to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

"It was the mandate of the people," he added. "They voted by a pretty substantial majority to do this and Parliament has simply stood in their way."

He said he had an "oven-ready" deal with Brussels which meant the UK would be out of the European Union within a matter of weeks if the Conservatives were returned to power.

Irish Independent

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