Donald Trump today hailed Boris Johnson as the “right man for the job” on Brexit as he held his first meeting with the new Prime Minister.
The US President lavished praise on Britain’s new PM hours after Mr Johnson piled pressure on him to accept pork pies and cauliflowers in a trade deal.
President Trump also said there could be a “very big” trade deal – when the “anchor” and the “obstacle” of EU membership was removed.
And he attacked Theresa May – saying under her leadership trade talks were “stymied” and “nothing got done on the other side”.
The pair met for breakfast with officials at the Hotel de Palais, which was built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugenie, at today’s G7 summit in Biarritz.
The palace is in the shape of an E, and “NE” insignias are dotted around curtains and carpets.
Asked what his advice was for Brexit, the President said: “He needs no advice, he is the right man for the job.”
The President admitted he had been saying it “for a long time”, adding: “It didn’t make your predecessor happy.”
Mr Johnson said the President was “on message there”.
They two leaders met for a working breakfast, with 10 Downing Street and White House officials also sat round the table facing each other.
But Mr Johnson is less likely to get a warm reception from EU chief Donald Tusk – who he meets just before lunchtime today.
The pair will hold their first face-to-face talks since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in a crunch Brexit showdown at the G7 summit in Biarritz.
Claims emerged today that the Tory chief could threaten to pay less than £9billion of the £39billion divorce bill for quitting the EU.
Meanwhile, the PM has reportedly taken legal advice from the Government’s top law officer, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, about temporarily shutting down Parliament for five weeks from September 9.
The move would allow for a Queen’s Speech, starting a new parliamentary session, on October 14, it was claimed.
Such a move would keep MPs away from the Commons until shortly before the European Council summit of EU leaders on October 17, potentially thwarting attempts to block a no-deal Brexit.
Senior Tories have wargamed plans for a general election on October 17 – the day EU leaders are due to gather in Brussels for a summit.
Meanwhile, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said he could use a parliamentary device to force ministers to release documents linked to the Operation Yellowhammer no-deal preparations.
The boost from Donald Trump comes after Boris Johnson last night set out a shopping list of goods he wants to export to America – including our traditional pork pies.
The Prime Minister – who was accused of telling porkies in the run-up to the Brexit referendum – insisted that Melton Mowbray’s finest delicacy should be included in any deal.
He also wants cauliflowers, shower trays and railway carriages to be allowed into the US free of tariffs and other restrictions.
But the NHS is not on the table in trade negotiations as he meets US President Donald Trump for breakfast today.
And Mr Johnson dismissed fears that big pharmaceutical firms across the Atlantic are poised to prey on the most lucrative parts of Britain’s precious National Health Service.
Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner warned against rushing into a trade deal with Donald Trump.
Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he said Trump’s tariffs on China mean “we’re facing a global recession. 600 points knocked off the Dow last week.”
Asked if he thinks a global recession will happen he said: “I think it is much more likely if they pursue those protectionist and aggressive trade policies.
“Remember Donald Trump is the man who said he can win a trade war. Nobody wins a trade war. Nobody.”
Mr Gardiner also demanded “reassurances” the NHS will be protected from US investors.
He said Mr Johnson must guarantee no ratcheting clauses, no investor-state dispute settlement systems and no negative list systems.
He said: “Those are the three things that would actually ensure Boris Johnson is not just talking that the NHS is safe.
“We in the Labour Party will ensure it’s safe by not voting for anything in Parliament that does not preclude those three elements.”
Speaking as he flew to a G7 summit of Western leaders in Biarritz, France, Mr Johnson set out red lines for a transatlantic trade pact after his promised Brexit on October 31.
The Tory leader said: “Of course I think it’s a massive opportunity for Britain, but we must understand that it is not all going to be plain sailing and that there remain very considerable barriers in the United States to British businesses which are not widely, readily understood.
“It is very, very important if we are going to do a fantastic free trade deal that is a free trade deal that works in the interests of British business.”
Mr Johnson explained: “We have sold 250,000 shower trays around the world but some kind of bureaucratic obstacle stops us selling them in the US because they’re allegedly too low.
“Wallpaper, pillows and other fabrics have to be fire-tested again when they arrive in the United States rather than being automatically admitted.
“There are tariffs on railway carriages in the US of 14 per cent whereas we only have a tariff of 1.7 per cent in the UK on American railway carriages.
“It’s not just beef or lamb that is currently banned from entering the US.
“In spite of their commitment to overturn that prohibition in 2014, not a morsel of British beef has entered.
“Melton Mowbray pork pies which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland are currently unable to enter the US market because of some sort of Food and Drug Administration restriction.”
He also cited curbs on cauliflowers, peppers, insurance and British wines as areas he wants to tackle with Mr Trump.
Donald Trump had an early start in the French resort today as he logged on for a swivel-eyed attack on his perceived enemies.
The President tweeted: “Before I arrived in France, the Fake and Disgusting News was saying that relations with the 6 others countries in the G-7 are very tense, and that the two days of meetings will be a disaster.
“Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great – the talk of the world!”
Asked if allies were pressuring him to give up his trade war with China, the US President said: “Not at all.”
Previous administrations “allowed them to get away with taking hundreds of billions of dollars out every year, putting it into China”, he claimed.
Asked if he had second thoughts on escalating the dispute, Mr Trump said: “Sure … why not?”
But then he added: “I have second thoughts about everything.”
Mr Trump said he had “the right to, if I want” declare a national emergency over the issue.
But he added: “I have no plan right now, actually we are getting along very well with China right now, we are talking.
“I think they want to make a deal much more than I do.”