UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently carried out a major reshuffle of his cabinet, has repeatedly delayed a visit to Washington that was earlier expected to take place in January or February, sparking fears among London’s political establishment that the move could spoil relations with the Trump administration, The Sun reported, citing sources.
According to the media report, the next possible meeting between Johnson and Trump could take place not earlier then June, when the British prime minister is expected to attend the upcoming G7 summit at Camp David in the US. Until that time, according to The Sun, Johnson will be engaged with domestic issues and not available to travel.
“Levelling up the country, making the streets safe and sorting out the NHS is why the PM won the election. When the Eye of Sauron is off the Whitehall machine, things stop working. That is why he has stripped down all his foreign travel this year to get his agenda done”, a senior UK official quipped, cited by The Sun, making a Lord of the Rings analogy.
The National Health Service (NHS) was reportedly among the sticking points during last year’s negotiations between Washington and London over the prospects of a future trade deal. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Johnson of wanting to sell the NHS to US private health care companies and import chlorinated chicken from the US, a profitable production technique that falls far short of UK food standards. Johnson has refuted the claims.
Johnson has repeatedly insisted that he would protect British interests in a future trade deal with the United States, including the NHS standards.
According to the media report, Johnson’s delayed trips to the US put the British prime minister at risk of angering Trump and his advisers. Johnson’s decision to allow Chinese companies to build a national 5G network in the nation is also thought to be endangering any future trade deals with Washington.