LONDON — Boris Johnson joined world leaders in congratulating Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. presidential election, with a pledge to work closely on climate policy, trade and security.
The U.K. prime minister’s message, posted on social media, made no mention of incumbent President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the race. In his own message of congratulations, Foreign Secretary Donald Raab said Trump had “fought hard in what proved a close contest.”
Johnson — who was criticized by opposition parties in the U.K. for declining to comment on Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud — also praised vice president-elect Kamala Harris on her “historic achievement” of becoming the first woman and person of color to hold the position.
“The U.S. 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 prime minister said in a short statement.
His political rival Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party, was more fulsome in his congratulations, calling Biden’s election “an important moment for the world.”
“Their victory is one for hope and unity over dishonesty and division,” Starmer said in a statement issued minutes after television networks began projecting Biden’s victory. “Millions of Americans of all backgrounds and ages have come together to vote for a better, more optimistic future.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon posted a message of congratulations on social media, calling Harris’ achievement in particular “a big and special moment.”
Trump’s most fervent supporter in British politics, Nigel Farage, described Biden’s election win as merely “a temporary set back” for Trump. Predicting that, despite Trump’s looming legal challenges, “the most likely outcome is that we carry on with Biden as president,” Farage told TimesRadio that he expected Trump to remain as “leader of the Republican Party.”
The U.K. government will have far more alignment on foreign policy matters with a Biden administration, but many observers have predicted a cool relationship between Johnson — the figurehead of Brexit — and the president-elect, who opposed the U.K.’s departure from the EU and as recently as December described Johnson (whom he has not met) as “a physical and emotional clone” of Trump.
A key area of convergence could be climate change diplomacy, with Biden vowing to bring the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement on his first day in office and to put the country on the path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and with Johnson due to host the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021.
In his statement, Raab added: “We’re looking forward to working with the new administration on all of our shared interests, from tackling COVID-19 to counter-terrorism, and collaborating closely through our presidencies of COP26 and the G7 next year.
“The friendship between the U.K. and U.S. has always been a force for good in the world.”
Johnson congratulates Biden, ignores Trump The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Politico.