Ostensibly Boris Johnson is a close ally of Donald Trump’s, but on matters of substance the Johnson government has shown some willingness to keep its distance from Washington and how the relationship will end up remains to be seen. On Huawei, Johnson is so far refusing to adopt the Washington line. As my colleague Dan Sabbagh reports, the UK is rejecting some of the warnings coming from the Trump administration and the Times today (paywall) says opinion in government is “leaning towards rejecting US demands to ban the company on security grounds”. And on Iran, although the UK did not criticise the decision to assassinate the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, its support wasn’t unequivocal and full-throated.
It is hard to know where the relationship will end up, but yesterday there was an interesting development when Johnson used his BBC interview to urge Trump to come up with a replacement to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Obama-era deal to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon that Trump has rejected. Johnson said this even though Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, later told MPs that the UK had still not given up on the JCPOA. Trump has welcomed Johnson’s comments. Overnight he tweeted this.
Trump’s tweet is based on a misquote; it leaves out an “if”. What Johnson actually said was: “If we are going to get rid of [the JCPOA], let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump deal.”
Trump may have praised Johnson’s intervention, but it has been criticised by the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. According to Reuters, in a speech yesterday Rouhani said the offer of a Trump deal was “strange” and he said Britain and the US should stick with the JCPOA. He said:
This Mr Prime Minister in London, I don’t know how he thinks. He says let’s put aside the nuclear deal and put the Trump plan in action.
If you take the wrong step, it will be to your detriment. Pick the right path. The right path is to return to the nuclear deal.
We are likely to hear more on this at PMQs.
Here is the agenda for the day.
11am: Peers resume their debate on the EU (withdrawal agreement) bill.
12pm: Boris Johnson faces Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs.
1pm: Lisa Nandy, the Labour leadership candidate, gives a speech on foreign policy.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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