Boris in Biden row over ‘f*** America!’ outburst
Boris Johnson has been accused of sparking a diplomatic rift with Joe Biden after an extraordinary “f*** America!” outburst in the Commons.
He made the remark after being urged to support moves by Rishi Sunak and the EU to solve Brexit problems in Northern Ireland – which are supported by the US President.
Allies of Mr Johnson have not disputed he made the foul-mouthed remark in a heated exchange with his former Lord Chancellor Sir Robert Buckland.
It sparked a backlash from Mr Sunak’s supporters who claim Mr Johnson and his allies are determined to wreck the PM’s Brexit Northern Ireland deal “out of spite”.
There are also claims that his “f*** America!” comment could hit Mr Johnson’s hopes of earning a fortune in America on the lecture circuit.
He was paid £277,000 for a speech to a New York bank in November and is in talks with agents to attend further money-spinning events in the US.
Insiders say this could be damaged if he is seen by patriotic Americans as “anti-US”.
The controversy is a repeat of another Brexit rant by Mr Johnson in 2018 when he said “f*** business!’ in his days as foreign secretary.
He used the words at a Foreign Office reception to mark the Queen’s birthday after being told businesses were opposed to his proposed so-called “hard Brexit”.
His response was condemned as “wildly irresponsible” by leading business figures.
His ‘f*** America!’ remark was in response to Sir Robert who had told him it was vital to support Mr Sunak’s drive to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol, partly to smooth relations with the White House.
A source close to the former prime minister said the jibe was part of “a jocular conversation that someone evidently misunderstood”.
Mr Biden’s administration has made it clear it will not sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK until key political disputes in Ulster, including the Protocol, which covers arrangements for imports and exports, have been defused.
Failure to do so could even stop Mr Biden, who has Irish roots, taking part in a rumoured visit to Northern Ireland in April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a senior US envoy suggested recently.
The row comes as Mr Sunak tries to head off a Tory revolt led by Mr Johnson’s supporters against his Northern Ireland deal.