Boris Johnson’s repeated promises to do a trade deal with the US have been unearthed in a new video just as the prime minister tries to distance himself from the failed idea.
US President Joe Biden rebuffed any chances of an imminent agreement this week shortly after Downing Street claimed a direct trade deal was a “priority” for Johnson’s visit to the US.
The prime minister then seemed to backtrack after Biden’s embarrassing snub and has said he is now looking only to make “incremental steps” towards trading with the US.
He even denied ever promising to organise a US trade deal – only for a viral video of clips stretching back to 2016 proving otherwise.
The footage includes Johnson campaigning with Vote Leave ahead of the 2016 EU referendum, where he promises “we could strike free trade deals with America”.
This vow was a major part of the pro-Brexit efforts and aimed to reassure people Britain would not be cut off from the world outside of the EU’s market.
The video then flashes to Johnson’s conversation with a journalist in New York on Wednesday, where he denies ever pledging a free trade deal wit the US was “quickly in the back pocket”.
The prime minister tells the reporter: “Sorry, that wasn’t me.”
He claims: “It was the previous President of the United States who said that we would do a trade deal rapidly, I said nothing on that.”
The footage then flashes back to Johnson’s meeting with former US President Donald Trump back in August 2020.
Again, Johnson can be seen telling the press: “We’re going to do a fantastic deal.”
Johnson and Trump were said to be close at the time – both repeatedly told the public a deal was on the table.
Yet on Wednesday, the prime minister told the BBC: “I’ve always thought that a free trade deal with the US would be difficult.”
The 27-second video also includes another brief, self-recorded clip of Johnson also telling the public: “We hear that we’re first in line to fo a great free trade deal with the United States.”
Watched more than half a million times, the video has prompted some exasperated responses online with some members of the public claiming it “feels like we are in a sketch show”.
Others said the prime minister was “backtracking”.
Notably, even famous football coach Gary Neville called on people to watch the footage as it went viral and the public expressed confusion over Johnson’s message.
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