Joe Biden: US's interest in UK 'diminished' because of Brexit

Joe Biden: US's interest in UK 'diminished' after Brexit

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Former US Vice President Joe Biden has said US interests in the UK are “diminished” because of Brexit.

Mr Biden, who served under the Obama administration, spoke at Chatham House on Tuesday about the transatlantic relationship between the US and UK, and made the comments following a question about his feelings on Brexit near the end of his talk.

He admitted that, had he been able to vote, he would have opted to remain.

“Had I been a member of parliament, had I been a British citizen, I would have voted against leaving,” he said.

“From the US perspective, US interests are diminished with Great Britain not being an integral part of Europe and being able to bring influence...

“There’s growing awareness that Britain played a role in Europe the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders and trade, being able to influence attitudes.”

He referenced the UK and US’s ‘special relationship’, but hinted it could decline after Brexit.

“There is a special relationship - we’ve been locked cheek to jowl on almost every important issue. Without England being totally integrated, to the extent that it’s distant, diminishes our ability to have influence on events on the continent,” he added.


'Intractable problem'

Mr Biden said he’d spoken to Theresa May the previous day.

“I spent some time with the Prime Minister last night, it’s an almost intractable problem,” he said of Brexit.

“I observe the Labour party is not unified. I don’t pretend to know, I can’t solve the problems at home, let alone your problems!

“US ability to play a major role in the security of the West, and the prosperity of the transatlantic partnership rests in part on having influence in Europe.”


'Significant unease'

During his talk, he also blamed current social divisions on fears about automation and job losses. “If you look at the periods where there’s been significant unease in my country and yours, it’s in periods of significant technical and industrial change,” he said.

“I asked [a friend] about his son, he said he was in real trouble. He said, ‘he knows in five years he’s going to be 52 years old and he isn’t going to have a job - every smart mind knows America’s going to be automated by then.’

“Governments - my government, including my own party - we didn’t pay much attention to those folks.”