Britain believed to have been second world leader call by Joe Biden

Joe Biden fires warning shot at Boris Johnson over Brexit wrangling saying Good Friday Agreement MUST be honoured – but boosts Special Relationship by calling the PM before other European leaders

  • Boris Johnson was high on the list of world leaders called by incoming US president Joe Biden last night 
  • Downing Street issued a message from Boris Johnson congratulating Joe Biden on his victory on Saturday
  • Eagle-eyed observers noticed that the image had traces of another message hailing a Donald Trump win 
  • The Government blamed a ‘technical error’ saying an alternative version was prepared and they got mixed up  

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Joe Biden fired a warning shot at Boris Johnson over Brexit wrangling last night by insisting the Good Friday Agreement must be honoured – but also backed the Special Relationship by calling the PM before other European leaders. 

The incoming President is believed to have had Mr Johnson second on his list of world leaders to contact, behind only Justin Trudeau of neighbouring Canada.

Despite fears the Democrat would choose to snub the UK after Mr Johnson’s friendship with Donald Trump, Mr Biden put in the call before chatting to Germany’s Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Downing Street said yesterday’s call with Mr Biden, at 4pm, lasted 20-25 minutes while the Prime Minister was in his office in No10.

But while a number of major issues were discussed, a US read-out of the call crucially did not mention any talk between the pair about a Transatlantic trade deal – which had been a priority for Mr Trump.

And Mr Biden, who has Irish heritage, is said to have reaffirmed his support for the 1998 agreement, amid concerns the UK‘s Internal Market Bill could ‘jeopardise’ its future.

It is understood Mr Biden spoke to Mr Johnson before his discussion with Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin – with whom he also stressed the importance of the Good Friday Agreement.  

The Prime Minister announced he had discussed the coronavirus pandemic and climate change with the Democrat by telephone after calling to 'congratulate him on his election' over Donald Trump at 4pm (pictured)

The Prime Minister announced he had discussed the coronavirus pandemic and climate change with the Democrat by telephone after calling to ‘congratulate him on his election’ over Donald Trump at 4pm (pictured)

A No10 post issued in the aftermath of TV networks calling the knife-edge result for Joe Biden quoted Boris Johnson offering congratulations

A No10 post issued in the aftermath of TV networks calling the knife-edge result for Joe Biden quoted Boris Johnson offering congratulations

However, eagle-eyes observers spotted traces of another - and much longer - text in the background of the slick image. By adjusting the colour and contrast, it is possible to make out the words 'Trump', 'second term' and 'the future'

However, eagle-eyes observers spotted traces of another – and much longer – text in the background of the slick image. By adjusting the colour and contrast, it is possible to make out the words ‘Trump’, ‘second term’ and ‘the future’

Joe Biden

Donald Trump

Mr Johnson has struck up warm ties with Mr Trump (right) since becoming PM, while there have been tensions with Mr Biden (left) and Democrats over Brexit and the impact on the Good Friday Agreement

Mr Johnson was not the first world leader to speak with Mr Biden - he spoke to Canadian leader Justin Trudeau on Monday. But there was confusion over whether Mr Biden - whose ancestry is partly Irish - had snubbed the PM by speaking to the Taoiseach first. However, it was later revealed Mr Johnson had spoken to Mr Biden first

Mr Johnson was not the first world leader to speak with Mr Biden – he spoke to Canadian leader Justin Trudeau on Monday. But there was confusion over whether Mr Biden – whose ancestry is partly Irish – had snubbed the PM by speaking to the Taoiseach first. However, it was later revealed Mr Johnson had spoken to Mr Biden first

French president Emmanuel Macron spoke to Mr Biden, but not until 5.30pm in Paris, 4.30pm UK time, according to the Elysee Palace

French president Emmanuel Macron spoke to Mr Biden, but not until 5.30pm in Paris, 4.30pm UK time, according to the Elysee Palace

Hancock takes veiled swipe at Trump over vaccine timing claims 

Matt Hancock today insisted the rules on release of clinical trials are ‘very strong’ and the timing is driven by ‘science’ – despite Donald Trump crying foul about Pfizer’s vaccine bombshell.

The dramatic news that the firm’s jab had proved 90 per cent effective in initial tests broke yesterday, less than a week after the knife-edge US election and under 48 hours after Joe Biden was declared the winner. 

Mr Trump and his allies have expressed fury at the timing, with the President saying the US regulators and Democrats ‘didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later’. The company has flatly denied any political motive to the timing.

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Hancock delivered a robust defence of the system for issuing clinical results. 

Without referring to the US backlash, Mr Hancock stressed that such information had to be published ‘immediately that the science comes good’ and the timing was not dictated by politicians or the companies themselves. 

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When Donald Trump won the US election in 2016, his call list descended into shambles after he sacked the staff member who drew it up.

Then-Prime Minister Theresa May was thought to have been the ninth leader he called.

Egypt’s premier was put through to the president-elect after calling the switchboard at Trump Tower, while the Australian PM jumped the queue after reportedly getting Mr Trump’s personal mobile number from golfer Greg Norman.

Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan and South Korea were also ahead of the UK.

But Mr Johnson’s diplomatic coup of being among the first to chat with the US leader came after it was revealed No10 left parts of a message congratulating Mr Trump on being re-elected on a tweet welcoming his rival’s win.

Issued in the aftermath of TV networks calling the knife-edge result for Mr Biden at the weekend the message posted on the official Downing Street account quoted Boris Johnson offering congratulations to him and vice-president elect Kamala Harris on her ‘historic achievement’.

‘The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security,’ the message said.

However, eagle-eyed observers spotted traces of another – and much longer – text in the background of the slick image. By adjusting the colour and contrast, it is possible to make out the words ‘Trump’ and ‘second term’. 

Yesterday, Mr Johnson sent another tweet, saying: ‘I just spoke to Joe Biden to congratulate him on his election. I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic.’

There had been initial confusion over whether Mr Biden had snubbed the PM by speaking to the Irish Taoiseach first. 

Irish PM Micheal Martin tweeted yesterday that he had spoken to the incoming US president, but the tweet was quickly deleted and government sources in Dublin admitted that while a call is being arranged it had not yet happened. 

Mr Martin later announced that the call had gone ahead yesterday evening, after Mr Johnson’s 4pm call, and said the incoming US leader ‘underlined his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement’.

And French president Emmanuel Macron spoke to Mr Biden, but not until 5.30pm in Paris, 4.30pm UK time, according to the Elysee Palace. 

Meanwhile, the weekend message bungle, first noticed by the Guido Fawkes political blog, left Tory MPs in despair. 

‘This was meant to be a sure footed, collaborative government,’ one said. ‘None of that is happening.’

It fuelled fears that the relationship with the new White House administration is off to a rocky start.

Mr Johnson has struck up warm ties with Mr Trump since becoming PM, while there have been tensions with Mr Biden and Democrats over Brexit and the impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

Ministers have insisted the Special Relationship will remain strong. No10 admitted that an ‘alternative’ message had been prepared in case Mr Trump triumphed, as the election was so close.

A Government spokesman said: ‘As you’d expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election. 

‘A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic.’ 

In a statement this afternoon Downing Street said the PM had ‘warmly’ congratulated Mr Biden on his election win and Ms Harris on her ‘historic achievement’.

‘They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead, in areas such as trade and security – including through NATO,’ the spokeswoman added.

‘The Prime Minister and President-elect also looked forward to working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

‘The Prime Minister invited the President-elect to attend the COP26 climate change summit that the UK is hosting in Glasgow next year. They also looked forward to seeing each other in person, including when the UK hosts the G7 Summit in 2021.’

Meanwhile, a US read-out of the call said: ‘The President-elect offered his thanks to Prime Minister Johnson for his congratulations and expressed his desire to strengthen the special relationship and re-double cooperation on issues of mutual concern.

The US read-out of the call between Joe Biden and Boris Johnson 

‘The President-elect offered his thanks to Prime Minister Johnson for his congratulations and expressed his desire to strengthen the special relationship and re-double cooperation on issues of mutual concern.

‘The President-elect noted that he especially looks forward to working closely together on global challenges as the United Kingdom prepares to host the 2021 G-7 and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

‘Among the shared priorities they discussed were containing COVID-19 and promoting global health security; pursuing a sustainable economic recovery; combating climate change; strengthening democracy, and working together on issues such as the Western Balkans and Ukraine.

‘The President-elect expressed his interest in cooperating with the UK, NATO, and the EU on shared trans-Atlantic priorities, and reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. ‘

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‘The President-elect noted that he especially looks forward to working closely together on global challenges as the United Kingdom prepares to host the 2021 G-7 and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

‘Among the shared priorities they discussed were containing COVID-19 and promoting global health security; pursuing a sustainable economic recovery; combating climate change; strengthening democracy, and working together on issues such as the Western Balkans and Ukraine.

‘The President-elect expressed his interest in cooperating with the UK, NATO, and the EU on shared trans-Atlantic priorities, and reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.’

At a press conference on Monday night, Mr Johnson again offered his congratulations to Mr Biden, but refused to tell Donald Trump to throw in the towel rather than mount legal challenges. 

The premier said he did not ‘wish to offer any other commentary’ on the matter after he insisted the UK will have a good relationship with the US regardless of who is president. 

Mr Johnson said the UK has had ‘a good relationship with the White House for many, many years and I have no doubt that we will continue to have a very, very strong, very close relationship with our American friends’.

Democratic sources have questioned whether Mr Johnson is an ‘ally’, with Mr Biden having previously described him as a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of Mr Trump. 

Mr Biden is also said to still be angry about Mr Johnson’s past criticism of Barack Obama.  

Ministers have insisted the Special Relationship will remain strong, bu Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) and Mr Biden did not discuss a post-Brexit trade deal during their recent call, it appears

Ministers have insisted the Special Relationship will remain strong, bu Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) and Mr Biden did not discuss a post-Brexit trade deal during their recent call, it appears

Mr Johnson said on Monday: ‘I really congratulate President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris who is going to be the first ever female vice president of the United States. 

‘Yes, this country has had a good relationship with the White House over the last few years but it has had a good relationship with the White House for many, many years and I have no doubt that we will continue to have a very, very strong, very close relationship with our American friends. 

‘One thing that is very exciting that you are already seeing from the incoming administration is their willingness to join the UK in the campaign to tackle climate change and as you know we are hosting the COP26 summit in Glasgow next year. 

‘The UK has been leading in calling, the first major economy, to call for countries to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and suddenly with the advent of President-elect Biden we are seeing the US really willing to take a lead too on climate change which I think is great news to say nothing of Nato and all sorts of other things.’ 

Alongside Mr Johnson, Mr Biden also spoke with President Emmanuel Macron of France. According to the US read-out of the call, Mr Biden expressed his desire to strengthen relations with France – described as America’s ‘oldest ally’.

Mr Biden is said to have expressed his readiness with Mr Macron to work together on global challenges, including security and development in Africa, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and Iran’s nuclear program. 

With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Mr Biden is said to have discussed revitalising the trans-Atlantic relationship, including through NATO and the EU. He is also said to have praised Ms Merkel’s ‘strong leadership’.

With Ireland’s Mr Martin, Mr Biden is said to have highlighted his desire to strengthen the ‘enduring personal, cultural, and economic ties between the United States and Ireland’ and reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement.

The Taoiseach later invited Mr Biden to visit Ireland following the ‘warm and engaging call’ with Mr Biden, who spoke proudly of his Irish heritage.

Mr Martin tweeted: ‘I’ve had a warm and engaging call with US President Elect @JoeBiden.

‘He brings tremendous knowledge & understanding to his new role, and has a great love for his Irish heritage. He underlined his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement & we spoke of importance of multilateralism.’

In another tweet he added: ‘.. for example, the Paris Accord and the WHO. I congratulated him on the historic nature of his election and that of @KamalaHarris and we agreed to work closely together.

‘I also invited him and @DrBiden to come back to Ireland when we will properly mark their success.’

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Biden’s election was “good for Ireland in many ways”.

Ms McDonald told the Dail: ‘He is, as we know, proud of his Irish roots and without doubt a long-standing friend of Ireland.

‘During the presidential election campaign and indeed throughout his time in office he has acted to promote and protect peace, progress and the Good Friday Agreement.

‘He comes to the office of president at a time of threat from the British Government, with Brexit and their refusal to honour agreements looming large.’

Trump campaign unveils new lawsuit in bid to disqualify hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania but with NO new evidence of fraud 

President Donald Trump’s campaign along with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany staged a chaotic press conference overnight where they claimed the election is ‘not over’ and attacked ‘partisan’ election officials but offered no new evidence of the fraud they allege.

The crowded, heated affair was just latest by Trump forces alleging fraud that ended in scraps with the media – including one in Philadelphia where the first witnesses trotted out by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani turned out to be a convicted child sex offender.

The campaing held the event to make its claims while lawyers filed a 105-page, double-spaced lawsuit in Pennsylvania court making its case to throw out more than 600,000 votes.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke at a chaotic press conference where she accused Democrats of trying to 'tip the scales' of the election. She misstated the name of the county where Philadelphia is located and didn't provide evidence of fraud

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke at a chaotic press conference where she accused Democrats of trying to ‘tip the scales’ of the election. She misstated the name of the county where Philadelphia is located and didn’t provide evidence of fraud

Plaintiffs were the campaign, former Pennsylvania state Rep. Lawrence Roberts, who is a 78-year old former cosmetologist, and Lancaster County voter David John Henry.

At the presser, it was McEnany, who was there on personal time from her job as a taxpayer-funded employee, as well as Republican National Committee head Ronna McDaniel laying out the allegations, and taking just a few questions.

‘What we have seen across the country is Democrat officials systematically trying to do an end run around the Constitution to tip the scales of the election in their favor,’ said McEnany, who also lectured reporters, telling them to ask questions of election officials when they questioned her.    

‘Isn’t the president just being a sore loser?’ asked a reporter after McEnany abruptly ended the event, held at RNC headquarters in Washington.   

‘Our poll watchers were put behind barricades in a massive room. They were many feet from the counting process. And in fact when you look at all the tables, many hundreds of feet in fact from the tables in the back. They were completely in the dark,’ she said.  

‘What are Pennsylvania Democrats hiding,’ she asked.

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