Biden backs Starmer’s bid to renegotiate Brexit and bring UK closer to EU

Joe Biden has backed Keir Starmer’s ambitions to take the UK back closer to the European Union.

The president, who has been a critic of Brexit and the UK’s departure from the EU, made it clear he values the special relationship but only as a “knot” tying together the US and Europe.

He made his comments as Sir Keir had his first audience with the president in the Oval Office since winning the election last week.

President Biden said: “I kind of see you guys as the knot tying the transatlantic alliance together, the closer you are with Europe. We know where you are, you know where we are.”

Sir Keir responded: “Well I think that’s absolutely right.”

Biden and Starmer shake hands in the Oval Office
Biden and Starmer shake hands in the Oval Office (REUTERS)

It comes as Sir Keir has started the process of renegotiating Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and also setting up a new EU security pact.

Nearly two and a half centuries after America severed its’ political bonds to the British Empire, President Biden said the United States and the United Kingdom are nonetheless “the best of allies in the whole world” as he met with the new prime minister in the Oval Office.

The meeting between the 81-year-old American president and Sir Keir, a full two decades his junior, came after both leaders participated in talks with other Nato heads of state and government on the first full day of the 32-member block’s annual summit in Washington.

The two men met immediately after England’s Euro 2024 victory over the Netherlands, which clearly cheered Sir Keir ahead of the meeting.

Asked if he thought football is coming home, Starmer replied: “I think it is.”

The preident also congratulated England on the victory and said “it is down to your prime minister.”

Sir Keir responded that England remain undefeated under his premiership and has confirmed he will be going to the final on Sunday in Berlin.

Meanwhie, Biden said the UK — a founding signatory of the North Atlantic Treaty — is “knot that ties the transatlantic alliance together” as the two men sat side-by-side during a brief availability with reporters.

“‘The closer you are with Europe, the more engaged … because we know where you are and we know where we are,” he said.

The prime minister congratulated Biden on hosting this year’s summit and credited the president with ushering in what he described as “a bigger Nato, a stronger Nato and a Nato with the resolve that we need.”

He also said the Anglo-American “special relationship” was “so important” and added that it was “forged in difficult circumstances,” had “endured for so long” and is “stronger now than ever.”

The meeting between American and British leaders comes as Mr Biden faced more calls for him to stand down from his re-election effort following his disastrous performance in a =debate against his predecessor and current Republican challenger, Donald Trump.

Mr Trump, an opponent of Nato who has threatened to renege on America’s commitment to the mutual defense provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty should allied nations fail to spend enough on defense, is currently leading Mr Biden in most public opinion polling, causing consternation among Nato leaders who fear he could destabilise the alliance by pulling America out of it should he return to office next year.