UK Politics

Nigel Farage offers to help UK 'get on with Trump'

Media captionNigel Farage: 2016 is the year of political revolution

Nigel Farage has said it is vital the UK "gets on" with Donald Trump and he is willing to help the government build bridges with the US president-elect.

The UKIP leader, who appeared with Mr Trump during the election, said he "liked" the UK and valued the special relationship between the nations.

He said reports that Mr Trump might give him a job were a "bit premature".

But the UK needed to "get cracking" in dialogue over trade and other issues and he was willing to help.

Prime Minister Theresa May has written to Mr Trump following his victory over Hillary Clinton, affirming the UK's commitment to work with him "to build on the enduring and special relationship between our two countries and to ensure our shared security and prosperity in the years ahead".

It has been reported that Mr Farage and other senior UKIP figures will meet Mr Trump this weekend after his victory.

The UKIP leader, who is due to stand down at the end of the month, met Mr Trump several times during the campaign and has been linked with a job in the Trump administration - potentially even as his envoy to the EU.

'Big pressure'

This, he said, was "somewhat premature" but he said he would be willing to play a role in facilitating links between the Trump administration and the UK before he formally takes office in January.

"I do have a relationship with Trump and his team," he told the BBC during a trip to Spain. "I think it is important that the British government gets on with this guy.

"If I can do anything to help the relationship between the UK and America, via Donald Trump, I will do that."

Media captionLabour MP 'appalled and terrified' by Trump win

He said he was confident that Donald Trump would strengthen the much-vaunted special relationship between the two countries, claiming his victory meant "at last we have a US president who likes our country".

There was a much greater prospect of the UK agreeing a free trade deal with the US after it leaves the EU with Mr Trump in the White House than either his opponent or the current incumbent.

"President Obama and Hillary Clinton have treated us with disdain," he claimed. "They thought we were a little country, not very relevant any more. Trump's mother was Scottish. He values the special relationship and he has told me that himself.

"Famously Obama said we would be at the back of the queue for a trade deal if we voted for Brexit. Donald Trump has said we would be at the front of the queue."

'Not outlandish'

Asked about Mr Trump's personality and what kind of president he would be, the UKIP leader accepted that the businessman could be a "bit brash and out there" on the campaign trail but that he was rather different in private.

"In private, one-to-one, I found him amenable and he will listen," he said, adding that the "success or otherwise" of Mr Trump's presidency would depend on the people he surrounded himself with.

While many of Mr Trump's policies - such as his pledge to deport illegal immigrants and build a wall between the US and Mexico - were not as "outlandish" as portrayed in the media, Mr Farage said he would have to make them happen.

"There is no question that there is going to be big pressure on Trump to deliver. Trump voters, the Brexit voters, want action. They don't want their votes, their overturning of the establishment to get kicked into the long grass.

"There is an element of anger among those voters. But it is more than that. It is about offering different policy solutions."

Ministers have congratulated Mr Trump on his election but his victory has not been universally welcomed, with former Labour foreign secretary Margaret Beckett saying she was "appalled and terrified" by the result.

Accusing the Republican of "lying every day" during the campaign, she said his triumph felt like "the end of the world".

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