News 22 Nov 2016

Donald Trump tops Foreign Office questions agenda

Donald Trump, the US president-elect, was top of the agenda at today’s Foreign Office questions. 

During the session, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused the opposition of being premature with hostile judgments of the administration-elect.

He also said hostility to Trump was not in the British national interest, adding that his administration should be judged once in office. The UK relationship with the US was the single most important geo-political fact of the last century, Johnson said, adding it was vital to be as positive as possible about the president-elect.

The foreign secretary told MPs any rushed verdicts about Trump “could be damaging to the interests of this country. It is important for us in this country to use our influence, which is very considerable, to help the United States to see its responsibilities, as I’m sure they will.”

Johnson argued the UK message to the Trump team would focus on key areas – the vital importance of Nato, free trade and free enterprise and speaking up for shared values.

Meanwhile, there was no sign that the Foreign Office would abandon its support for the Syrian opposition. The UK wants Assad to stand down as part of a political transition. Boris Johnson insisted that Russian leaders would face the consequences of continued bombing of east Aleppo. He said: “We need to reach out to the Russians and show that it is up to them now to show the leadership the world expects, to deliver a ceasefire in Aleppo and let the humanitarian aid get through, and prevent a catastrophe for the city in the winter months.”

Watch the session highlights here: