Mr Biden’s decisive victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday night has set the stage for a major showdown in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. The race is speeding towards the critical Super Tuesday vote and the former Vice President’s centrist rivals have already started stepping aside. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, dropped out of the race on Sunday evening.
Mr Biden seems to have then established himself as the main rival to frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
At a victory party in the state capital, Columbia, the 77-year-old issued a thinly-veiled dig at his opponent, a self-declared democratic socialist, as he urged voters to rally behind a “a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat”.
As the Super Tuesday ballot, in which 14 states and two other constituencies will decide more than a third of all the presidential delegates, quickly approaches, unearthed reports shed some light on Mr Biden’s views, particularly on Brexit, and what his victory in the presidential election could mean for a US-UK trade deal.
Asked about Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc at a London event in 2018, Mr Biden said he would have voted against it if he were a British MP.
Joe Biden’s astonishing Brexit plea exposed: ‘Stay in EU so US can be better off!’
Former Vice President Jo Biden
He argued that US interests are diminished now that Britain is not an integral part of Europe and bringing to bear influence well beyond the economy, on the European attitudes towards a whole range of subjects.
He said: “It seems to me that there is a growing awareness in Europe as a whole and around the world that Britain played a role in Europe over the last 30 years that went well beyond the notion of open borders, trade and all these other things – being able to influence attitudes about things that have nothing to do with the elements of the EU state.”
On the ties between the US and UK, he added: “There is a special relationship, we have been locked cheek and jowl on almost every important issue that exists, and so without England being totally integrated in the EU to the extent that it is distanced from that diminishes our ability to have influence on events on the continent.
“I do believe very strongly that the United States’s ability to play a major role in the security of the West and the prosperity of the transatlantic partnership rests in part on Great Britain’s influence in Europe.”
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Mr Biden’s comments suggest that if he were elected US President in November’s election, striking a trade deal with the US might be more complicated for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
His words also came just after former Prime Minister Theresa May had outlined her Chequers deal amid widespread condemnation from Leavers and Remainers alike, meaning the destiny of Brexit Britain appeared highly insecure and the prospect of a second referendum – with Remain on the table – loomed large.
Therefore, Mr Biden’s intervention can arguably be seen as a plea for Britons to reconsider the result of the 2016 EU referendum despite hindsight condemning this line of thinking to the history books after Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory in December 2019.
This morning, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss published Britain’s negotiating mandate and announced the country is looking to strike a “comprehensive” trade deal with the US.
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Boris Johnson with US President Donald Trump
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders
Talks are expected to begin next week.
Two months before the Brexit referendum, though, former US President Barack Obama visited London and warned Britain that a trade deal with the US would not be a priority if UK voters chose to leave the EU.
Mr Biden served as deputy to Mr Obama during his two terms in the White House and likely shared his view.
Britain’s plans could also be ruined if Mr Trump loses to potential Democrat candidate Mr Sanders.
An expert on US politics told Express.co.uk that the “self-declared democratic socialist” would only work with Mr Johnson once there is a clear agreement with the EU.
Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University said: “If Sanders was President, the UK government would have to come to the US with a resolution with the EU.
“Because what is Sanders’ priority?
“The reason why he didn’t like other free trade deals is that they didn’t provide enough protection for labour, and for small American companies, and instead of benefitting big companies.
“He was against the EU-US trade deal because he felt standards would be lowered.”