Boris Johnson has said he still has a “good relationship” with Donald Trump but failed to condemn the US president for not accepting defeat in the country’s recent election.
Trump has so far refused to concede to his Democratic rival Joe Biden, despite US media calling the election for Biden after it was clear he would win enough states to get the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
Trump remains US president until January but has refused to accept that President-elect Biden will take over from him then.
On Wednesday during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Johnson said he still gets along with Trump, who he called “the previous president”, and refused to criticise him for not admitting he had lost.
Johnson said: "I had and have a good relationship with the previous president.
“I do not resile from that. It's the duty of all British PMs to have a good relationship with the White House."
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The prime minister hinted he had differences of opinion with Trump on some issues, saying he was “delighted” to have found "common cause" with Biden during a phone conversation on Tuesday.
He said he and Biden agreed the UK and the US would stand together on human rights, climate change, Nato and global free trade – which are some topics he does not agree with Trump on.
But the PM stopped short of condemning Trump – who has baselessly claimed there was widespread voter fraud in the presidential election – for not accepting the result.
It emerged on Tuesday that Johnson had originally planned to congratulate Trump on winning the US election after Downing Street released a botched edit of his message to Biden.
Number 10’s official Twitter account posted an image of the PM’s statement congratulating the Democratic nominee.
But beneath the congratulatory message, a faint outline of a statement welcoming a Trump victory was still visible.
A government spokesperson later said the mistake was down to a “technical error” and that another message was accidentally “embedded in the background”.
Biden’s victory could be difficult for Johnson.
The president-elect has previously issued a stark warning about the PM’s apparent willingness to tear up the Brexit divorce deal over measures aimed at addressing issues around the Irish border.
The Irish-American Biden warned that the Good Friday Agreement cannot become a “casualty of Brexit” and said any future UK-US trade deal would be contingent on respect for the accord.
Both Biden and the US Congress have made it clear a hard border in Ireland is unacceptable.
In December 2019, Biden also labelled Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump.
Watch: What does a Biden presidency mean for the global economy?