Joe Biden tells Rishi Sunak 'UK remains America’s closest ally' in first phone call

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Mr Sunak spoke with Mr Biden over the phone this evening, in their first official meeting since Mr Sunak became Prime Minister earlier today.  During the call, President Biden confirmed that “the UK remains America’s closest ally”, with Mr Sunak agreeing on the “huge strength of the relationship”. The two leaders said they “look forward to working closely together.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the two world leaders “discussed the extent of UK-US cooperation, both bilaterally and in regions such as the Indo-Pacific where the AUKUS pact forms part of our efforts to enhance stability and counter China’s malign influence.”

The official added: “They reflected on the leading role our countries are playing in supporting the people of Ukraine and ensuring Putin fails in this war.

“The Prime Minister and President Biden also agreed on the need to ensure the people of Northern Ireland have security and prosperity through preserving the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

“The leaders looked forward to meeting in person at the upcoming G20 Summit in Indonesia.”

Earlier today, Mr Biden faced controversy after seemingly mispronouncing Mr Sunak’s name at a Diwali event in the White House.

Mr Biden described Sunak’s rise to power as a “groundbreaking milestone”, expressing surprise at the fact that he belongs to the Conservative party.

The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also mispronounced Mr Sunak’s name but corrected herself.

Mr Sunak became Prime Minister today after being appointed leader of the Conservative Party yesterday.

He said he had been elected as Tory leader to “fix” the “mistakes” made by his predecessor, Liz Truss.

In her resignation speech, Ms Truss urged the new Prime Minister to be “bold” in a bid to boost the economy.

She said the UK “cannot afford” for Government spending to take up an “increasing share of our national wealth”.

Ms Truss insisted “brighter days lie ahead” for the UK.

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