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Trump: Send Nigel Farage to negotiate Brexit

Ahead of his state visit to the UK, US President Donald Trump said London should "walk away" from Brexit talks if Brussels doesn't bow to the UK's demands. He also stressed that Nigel Farage would make a good negotiator.

A day after he backed Boris Johnson to be the next British prime minister, US President Donald Trump said the UK should send Nigel Farage to Brussels to conduct Brexit talks with the EU.

In an interview with the UK's Sunday Times newspaper, Trump said: "I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer — he is a very smart person."  

"They won't bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet," Trump added.

Read more: Who is Boris Johnson, Brexit champion and wannabe British PM?

The US president also suggested that the UK should walk away from Brexit talks with the EU if the bloc refuses to offer it a better deal. "I would walk away. If you don't get the deal you want, if you don't get a fair deal, then you walk away," he said.

On the Brexit divorce bill, Trump said: "If I were them, I wouldn't pay $50 billion (€44.6 billion). That is a tremendous number."

During the interview, Trump again criticized Prime Minister Theresa May's strategy for taking the UK out of the EU. She is due to step down in the coming weeks over her failure to deliver Brexit on time. 

Trump also reiterated his backing for May's potential successors, including ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who have said Britain must leave on the due date of October 31 with or without a deal.

'Be very careful'

Furthermore, Trump said he would have "to know" the leader of the UK's opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, before authorizing US intelligence to share its most sensitive secrets with a Labour government.

He warned that the UK must be careful not to jeopardize intelligence-sharing by letting Chinese firm Huawei Technologies into its new 5G mobile phone network. "You know we have a very important intelligence gathering group, that we work very closely with your country [Britain] and so you have to be very careful."

The US has long voiced suspicions that Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government and thus a global security threat — charges strongly denied by the firm and by Beijing. May's government has insisted a decision has not yet been made on Huawei's involvement in building the UK's 5G network.

Trump will be welcomed to London on Monday by Queen Elizabeth II at the start of a three-day state visit that will also include talks with May and a ceremony marking 75 years since the D-Day landings.

sri/amp (Reuters, AFP)

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