Prime minister’s bluster meets real world as promised post-Brexit trade deal fails to materialise

When the highlight of your first trip to the US as prime minister is an awkward minute-long conversation with the president about a shared interest in trains, it’s probably fair to say that things haven’t gone quite as well as hoped. Boris Johnson may feel himself to be the unassailable world king in the UK, but on the other side of the Atlantic he’s pretty much a nobody.

The Americans could scarcely have made the prime minister feel less welcome if they’d tried. His lowest point had been the exchange of presents. He had given Joe Biden a book by the astronaut Tim Peake. Biden had clearly forgotten to get Boris anything because he fumbled around for a White House watch. Nothing quite says you really don’t give a damn than something rustled up at the last minute from the downstairs gift shop.

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