Iain Duncan Smith has joined the growing ranks of angry Tory backbenchers lashing out at Joe Biden, telling the president-elect that Brexit “has nothing to do with him”.
It comes after John Redwood, a fellow member of the European Research group, was ridiculed for sending a “warning letter” to Biden – in which he claimed that the UK had won a bigger mandate for Brexit than the former vice-president had achieved in his victory over Donald Trump.
Now Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, has vowed to “get on with our legislation” – insisting that Biden should not get involved, despite there being no indication that the president-elect will intervene.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Duncan Smith said: “It’s nothing to do with them and we will get on with our legislation. We are a sovereign nation, that’s what we voted for. And therefore sovereign nations have the right to be sovereign.”
“If I was Joe Biden,” he added, “I would look to his own domestic politics rather than ours.” Asked whether that constituted a “polite butt out” in the president-elect’s direction, Duncan Smith replied: “you can take it as you wish”.
Back of the queue
Boris Johnson is yet to receive a phone call from Biden, amid speculation that the prime minister will not be “top of the list” as the president-elect begins reaching out to world leaders.
Downing Street confirmed that the two men have not spoken since Biden’s election win – and there is concern in Westminster that the new president will snub Johnson, who he described as a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump last year.
British diplomats reportedly believe that Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Irish premier Micheál Martin will be the first leaders to hear from Biden, as he seeks to rebuild trust with the European Union following years of hostility from Trump.
One source told the Daily Mail: “Look, we’re probably not top of the list for the first phone call. Are some people in government fretting about that? Yes, but you can read too much into it. If we find ourselves being called after Papua New Guinea then we should probably start to worry.”
‘No special relationship’
Biden is known to oppose Brexit, and warned that any US-UK trade deal will be scuppered if Britain’s departure from the EU undermines the Good Friday Agreement.
“They do not think Boris Johnson is an ally,” a Democratic source told the Sunday Times. “They think Britain is an ally. But there will be no special relationship with Boris Johnson.”
The paper also quotes a senior US politician who is expected to take a job in Biden’s administration as saying: “If you think Joe hates him, you should hear Kamala [Harris].”