Washington, Dec 16:
As Britain’s divorce from the European Union stumbles ahead, hardliners pushing for a full break are finding support in one foreign capital — Washington.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who is barely holding on to power at home, found a frosty reception on her latest mission to Brussels as she struggles to sell Brexit on her terms.
Nor is she finding much support from US President Donald Trump, who has openly questioned her Brexit deal, instead favoring a full break.
Right-wing critics fear the current deal could leave Britain indefinitely in the EU customs union so as to prevent restoration of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Trump, speaking to reporters soon after May announced her Brexit package, dismissed it as “a great deal for the EU.” He suggested that the agreement could hold back a trade deal between the United States and Britain — which conservatives in both countries have dangled as an incentive if Britain leaves the European Union.
“That would be a very big negative for the deal,” Trump said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also embraced Brexit since he took over from the less ideological Rex Tillerson.
In a recent Fox News interview, Pompeo promised to pursue the vaunted US-Britain “special relationship” in the increasingly likely scenario of a “hard Brexit” without a negotiated deal.
Trump’s enthusiasm for Brexit stands in marked contrast to the views of his predecessor Barack Obama, who had warned that Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a US trade deal if it left the European Union.
In line with the thinking of much of the foreign policy establishment in both countries, Obama said that a Britain integrated within a forward-looking European Union was better for all sides economically and politically.