A senior adviser to US president Donald Trump said “positive things” about the possibility of a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal at a private meeting with Eurosceptic MPs, it has emerged.
John Bolton, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, met members of the European Research Group of backbench Conservative MPs, it was reported in a Sunday newspaper.
Sir Bill Cash was among the MPs who held talks with Mr Bolton, and told the newspaper he “gave a positive view of what he believed the president thought about Brexit”.
Mr Cash said: “In advance of the president’s visit there were some positive things said about potential trade deals.”
Iain Duncan Smith, who was also present, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics: “We didn’t talk about details, he just simply said we’re very pro the idea of a trade arrangement as quickly as possible and the general view was that they could get it done within two years if the British really wanted to do a real push on it.
“I’ve passed that back to government as a general conversation, but it was a conversation between friends and, you know, we do tend to do a lot of conspiracies, don’t we, in the media at times. There’s no conspiracy here, it was just a general conversation.”
He added: “One point he made across to me was that everybody in America is really keen to make a trade arrangement with us.”
Mr Trump was accused of trying to destabilise the EU after it was reported at the weekend that he encouraged French president Emmanuel Macron to quit the EU and sign a separate trade deal with the US. Last week the US president also said in public remarks the EU “was set up to take advantage of the United States”.