Brexit UK is top of queue for Trump trade deal. Labour must not be allowed to trash the economy again!
Remember US President Barack Obama’s warning that a US-UK deal would be last on America’s list of priorities?
Boris Johnson has declared Britain is “first in line” for a trade deal with the US, after meeting Donald Trump’s senior advisers for talks.
The UK Foreign Secretary, who once quipped he would not visit parts of New York because of the “real risk of meeting Donald Trump”, praised the US President-elect’s “very exciting agenda of change”.
He also said relations between the UK and US would remain close once Mr Trump takes office on 20 January.
Jeremy Corbyn was branded “totally idiotic” by a former top economic adviser after he issued a call for a maximum pay cap for high earners.
The Labour leader had said the measure was needed to counter the soaring levels of income inequality between those at the top and the rest of society.
But his comments were dismissed as “totally unworkable” by economists, while business leaders warned the proposal was a “non-starter”.
His intervention also appeared to catch senior colleagues by surprise, with one shadow cabinet minister saying he had been expressing a “personal view”.
“If we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme .
“I would to like to see a maximum earnings limit, quite honestly, because I think that would be a fairer thing to do.
“We cannot set ourselves up as being a sort of grossly unequal, bargain-basement economy on the shores of Europe.”
Mr Corbyn refused to say at what level the cap should be set, although he later told Sky News it would be “somewhat higher” than the £138,000 he earns as an MP and Leader of the Opposition.
Corbyn’s freedom of movement confusion
Mr Corbyn also appeared to renege on his new stance on Brexit even before he had delivered it.
Mr Corbyn said in a Brexit speech this afternoon that “Labour is not wedded to free movement of people” but added “nor do we rule it out”, leaving the door open for keeping it in place.
In his first interview this morning on Good Morning Britain, Mr Corbynalso said Britain would have to retain free movement of people if the EU said it was the only way to keep access to the single market.
Outgoing US President Barack Obama warned during the EU referendum campaign that Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a trading agreement if voters opted to leave the EU.
Boris Johnson said:
“Clearly, the Trump administration-to-be has a very exciting agenda of change.
“One thing that won’t change though is the closeness of the relationship between the US and the UK.
“We are the number two contributor to defence in NATO. We are America’s principal partner in working for global security and, of course, we are great campaigners for free trade.
“We hear that we are first in line to do a great free trade deal with the United States. So, it’s going to be a very exciting year for both our countries.”
Johnson also met Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his chief strategist Steve Bannon in New York after flying there on Sunday.
He has also been meeting other key Republicans in Washington, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
British PM Theresa May is due to meet Mr Trump in Washington next month.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, May said Trump’s previous lewd remarks about women were “unacceptable”.
He faced an angry backlash during last year’s presidential campaign after a 2005 recording emerged of him boasting about groping women.
In her first broadcast interview of the year, May was critical of the comments, but pointed out that Trump had since apologised for them.
“But the relationship that the UK has with the United States is about something much bigger than just the relationship between the two individuals as president and prime minister,” she continued.
“That’s important, but actually we have a long-standing special relationship with the United States.
“It’s based on shared values and it is a relationship where, actually in the UK, we feel we can say to the US if we disagree with something that they are doing.”
Trump has tweeted he was “very much” looking forward to meeting May, adding that he considered Britain to be a “very special” ally.
Meanwhile, – Jeremy Corbyn: “I’ve not changed mind on immigration”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told the BBC he stands by his view that immigration to the UK is not too high.
In a speech on Brexit later he is due to say that Labour is not “wedded” to the idea of freedom of movement.
But he told Laura Kuenssberg that he was not proposing new restrictions on the rights of people to move to the UK.
Instead he wanted an end to foreign workers being exploited in the UK under EU employment rules, which, he said, would “probably” cut numbers.
In the interview with the BBC’s political editor Mr Corbyn was pressed to explain his stance on immigration after the UK leaves the EU, following suggestions ahead of his speech that he was going to back the idea of restrictions on EU nationals’ current rights to live and work in the UK.
The focus, he said, should be on ending the exploitation of low-skilled workers and more local recruitment – which he said would “probably” reduce overall numbers.
Mr Corbyn, who has repeatedly insisted since becoming leader that EU migration to the UK is not too high, was asked if he had now changed his view. He replied: “No. My mind is quite clear that we need to end the exploitation that’s going on, we need to maintain a market access within Europe and we need to ensure there are good relations between all communities.”
- Corbyn suggests maximum earnings limit
- UK in ‘front seat’ for US trade deal
- May: Brexit can ‘change UK for better’
- UK in ‘front seat’ for US trade deal
- Ireland-UK ties ‘need Brexit review’
The Conservatives said the opposition was in “chaos” over the issue and not committed to any controls on immigration while UKIP said working families would not be fooled by what they said was a “load of flannel”.
Earlier, in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio 4, Mr Corbyn also said he would personally support a cap on earnings as part of his vision of a more equal country.
He said a maximum salary would be the “fairer thing to do” but he would not be drawn on what it should be, except to say it should be somewhat higher than the £138,000 wage he earns as leader of the opposition.
“If we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality,” he said.
He also expressed support for striking Southern rail workers, claiming the company had let down the travelling public and its franchise should be nationalised.
Labour says the government has failed to make clear what its objectives are ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations in April, but Mr Corbyn has come under pressure himself to spell out his position on the single market and immigration.
In a speech later, the party leader will argue the UK “can be better off” after leaving the EU and will insist that Labour is not “wedded” to the continued free movement of EU citizens in the UK as a “matter of principle”, supporting “fair and reasonably managed migration”.
There has been growing support among senior Labour figures for restrictions on freedom of movement, although EU leaders have said this is incompatible with continued membership of the single market.
Mr Corbyn told Today that any limits on existing freedom of movement rules would form part of the negotiations and hinge on what kind of access that the UK would get to the single market.