At their first encounter, Johnson claims he isn’t going to disagree with Biden.
As the pair began a potentially tense encounter in Cornwall, Boris Johnson said he does not disagree with Joe Biden on anything.
The meeting will be used by the US president to warn Prime Minister Theresa May not to let the dispute over Northern Ireland’s Brexit arrangements jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement.
The controversy has threatened to overshadow Mr Johnson’s first meeting with President Trump, as well as his hosting of the G7 conference at Carbis Bay, which begins on Friday.
Mr Biden said ahead of the meeting that he was looking forward to “affirming the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom” – despite Mr Johnson’s distaste of the term “special relationship” to characterize the transatlantic connection because it makes Britain appear dependent.
Before their meeting, the two presidents and their wives, Carrie Johnson and Jill Biden, savored the scenery across Carbis Bay.
“I told the Prime Minister we had something in common,” Biden remarked. Both of us married much above our station.”
“I’m not going to dissent on that one,” Mr Johnson said. I’m not going to dispute with you there, or on anything else for that matter; I believe it’s highly likely.”
Apart from Brexit, Mr Johnson and Mr Biden will work on resuming transatlantic travel and agreeing on a new Atlantic Charter that will pave the way for cooperation on issues such as climate change and security.
However, Mr. Biden, who is proud of his Irish ancestors, will bring up the Northern Ireland Protocol disagreement, which will be a major topic of conversation with the UK and the European Union in the following days of heavy diplomatic action in Cornwall.
The president took the rare step of ordering Yael Lempert, the US’ most senior diplomat in London, to present a demarche – a formal protest – in a meeting with Brexit minister Lord Frost on June 3, revealing the depth of Mr Biden’s dissatisfaction with the UK’s approach to the Protocol.
According to the Times, government minutes from the discussion stated: “Lempert hinted that the UK had.” (This is a brief piece.)