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Boris Johnson administration ‘frantically repositioning’ itself for Biden presidency, claims George Osborne

Boris Johnson’s government is “frantically repositioning” itself to prepare for the likely arrival of Democrat Joe Biden in the White House following next week’s US presidential elections, former chancellor George Osborne has claimed.

Mr Osborne told CNN that Downing Street would have to “work hard” to overcome the lack of warmth from Mr Biden towards the Johnson administration after the Brexiteers associated themselves with his rival Donald Trump.

The Brexiteers’ goal of getting a trade deal with the US could be difficult under a Biden presidency, Mr Osborne suggested.

“There’s no doubt that the Brexit government here will face a challenge with a Biden administration,” said the former chancellor.

“Of course the US/UK alliance is long-enduring and exists on many levels, and there’s no doubt that the British prime minister will always be welcome in Washington.

“There’ll be some very specific things like whether the UK does a trade deal with the US, where Joe Biden has already indicated and people like Nancy Pelosi have indicated that is going to be hard work for the British government.

“So there’s a lot of frantic repositioning going on at the moment here in London by this administration in Britain, but I don’t think Joe Biden will feel particularly warm towards this British government and they’re going to have to work very hard to change that.”

Mr Osborne said that the Johnson administration was one of a number of populist governments, also including those of the US and Brazil, who had forged links and drawn inspiration with one another.

“Donald Trump himself said ‘I’m Mr Brexit’ when he was just the candidate. And I think, by contrast, Joe Biden is Mr Mainstream,” said the former chancellor.

“Ultimately, populists are only populists while they stay popular. If you cannot address the concerns – some of which were legitimate – about neglected communities or middle-income people who haven’t seen their earnings rise, if you actually end up making their situations worse off, then you’re no longer a populist because you’re no longer popular. And yo’’re probably out of office.”

Mr Osborne said he thinks America and countries like Britain are yearning for a return to a “more civil politics”. 

“And there’s a huge opportunity for a Biden presidency, if he’s elected, to be the healer, to be the unifier rather than just to be the anti-Trump or the person who now divides the country from the left,” he said.