GETTY - REUTERSBrexit news: Wood Johnson vows to maintain strong uK-USA relationship
The new US ambassador to the UK insisted the special relationship between the two countries will remain as strong as ever once Britain leaves the European Union.
Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, vowed the UK would always have a “strong and reliable trade partner” in the US regardless of the outcome of Brexit.
And he insisted the ties would not be harmed by Brexit during his first speech as ambassador last night.
He said: “Britain’s decision to leave the European Union takes your country into new territory — but you are not heading there on your own.
REUTERSDonald Trump and Theresa May have already discussed post Brexit trade deals
“The United States is committed to standing with the UK through Brexit.
“Our position on Brexit is clear. We want a strong and prosperous UK to remain a leader in Europe, and we want both the UK and the EU to remain strong leaders globally.”
In a thinly-veiled dig at the former President Barack Obama’s warning that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” for trade deals after Brexit, Mr Johnson said: “As far as the President is concerned, the United Kingdom, our most enduring ally, is always at the head of the line.”
And Mr Johnson added that the “lure” of working with Britain remains the same today as when his grandfather first chose the UK to establish the company’s first overseas subsidiary, over 100 years ago.
He added: “Our countries are among each other’s largest inward investors.
“Americans and Brits hold roughly one trillion dollars of investment and employ approximately one million people in each other’s countries — jobs that have increased prosperity and opportunity in all four countries of the United Kingdom and in every American state.”
And the 70-year-old businessman said Britons will grow to love Donald Trump “when you get to know him”.
Mr Johnson, heir to the Johnson and Johnson pharmaceutical empire, also sought to quell fears over Mr Trump’s state visit to Britain which has currently been postponed indefinitely.
He told his audience at Pilgrims of Great Britain, an organisation set up to foster Anglo-American ties, last night: “Many of you do not know the president. I have known him for over thirty years.
GETTYWoody Johnson said Britons will love Trump when they get to know him
REUTERSMr Johnson vowed the United States is committed to standing with the UK through Brexit
“Our sons were born three days apart in the same hospital. Our relationship is long standing, personal and close.
“And I can promise you, when you get to know him, you’ll like him.”
It comes as Downing Street said Britain is committed to securing an "ambitious free trade deal" with the EU after Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said: "What we are absolutely focused on is making the best of the opportunities provided by Brexit.
"We are working towards an ambitious free trade deal and securing a deep and special partnership with the EU."