Donald Trump ‘surprised at how badly’ Brexit negotiations have gone

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Donald Trump has said he is “surprised at how badly” the Brexit negotiations have gone for Britain and claimed that leaving the EU is “tearing the country apart”.

In an explosive intervention, the US president claimed that Theresa May did not listen to his suggestions on how to handle the negotiations.

He also poured scorn on the idea of a second referendum.

“It’s a very complex thing right now, it’s tearing a country apart, it’s actually tearing a lot of countries apart and it’s a shame it has to be that way but I think we will stay right in our lane,” Mr Trump said.

“I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from a stand point of negotiations but I gave the prime minister my ideas of how to negotiate it, she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine but it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly.

“I hate to see everything being ripped apart now.”

According to Mrs May, Mr Trump advised her to “sue the EU” and “not go into negotiations”.

On the prospect of another public vote, the president said: “I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won.

“They’d say ‘What do you mean, you’re going to take another vote?’ So that would be tough.

“I thought it would happen, it did happen, and both sides are very, very cemented in. It’s a tough situation. It’s a shame.

“There was no reason for that to happen. They could have had the vote and it should have gone smoothly and unfortunately it didn’t.”

Mr Trump made the comments alongside Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office.

Britain is due to leave the EU at the end of March but that could now be delayed.

When asked if he thinks the deadline should be pushed back, the US president said: “I think they are probably going to have to do something because right now there are in the midst of a very short period of time, at the end of the month and they are not going to be able to do that.

“We can do a very big trade deal with the UK. We are also re-negotiating our trade deal with the European groups and literally individual nations.”

Mr Trump said he would like to see the “whole situation with Brexit work out”, adding “we are talking with them about trade and we can do a very big trade deal with the UK”.

Turning to Mr Varadkar, he said: “Leo, I’m sure you agree on that.

“Would you like to express your feelings on Brexit? Maybe I shouldn’t let you do it, I’ll just get you in trouble.”

The Irish PM responded: “We have a different opinion, Mr President. I regret that Brexit’s happening.”

Mr Trump’s comments are not his first intervention in the Brexit debate.

In November, he said that the PM’s deal “sounds like a great deal for the EU” but could hinder trade between the US and UK.

The president was much more forthright on the eve of a visit to the UK in July.

Mr Trump said in a newspaper interview that the PM’s agreement would “kill” hopes of any future trade deal between the two nations.

He also said former foreign secretary Boris Johnson was a “very talented guy” who “has got the right attitude to be a great prime minister”.

(c) Sky News 2019: Donald Trump ‘surprised at how badly’ Brexit negotiations have gone

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