Boris Johnson congratulates Joe Biden on US election win in first phone call

10 November 2020, 16:55 | Updated: 10 November 2020, 19:17

President-elect Joe Biden spoke to Boris Johnson on Tuesday
President-elect Joe Biden spoke to Boris Johnson on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Boris Johnson has congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on his election win in their first phone call.

The Prime Minister and the Democrat held a call at 4pm on Tuesday amid concerns the pair may not have a smooth relationship because of controversies surrounding Brexit.

Mr Johnson is understood to have spoken to the former vice-president on a wide range of subjects for around 25 minutes from his Downing Street office.

Read more: Donald Trump uses Twitter to 'divert from uncomfortable topics', study finds

No 10 said Mr Johnson "warmly congratulated" Mr Biden on his victory, which Republican Mr Trump continues to contest with baseless allegations of fraud.

They also revealed that the Prime Minister and Mr Biden "discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead" and said they "looked forward to seeing each other in person."

Following the call, the Prime Minister tweeted: "I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election. I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic."

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “In a call this afternoon the Prime Minister warmly congratulated Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States.

“The Prime Minister also conveyed his congratulations to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her historic achievement.

“They discussed the close and longstanding relationship between our countries and committed to building on this partnership in the years ahead, in areas such as trade and security – including through NATO.

“The Prime Minister and President-elect also looked forward to working closely together on their shared priorities, from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy, and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Prime Minister invited the President-elect to attend the COP26 climate change summit that the UK is hosting in Glasgow next year. They also looked forward to seeing each other in person, including when the UK hosts the G7 Summit in 2021.”

Downing Street said the Prime Minister discussed trade with Mr Biden, as he seeks to negotiate a post-Brexit deal with Washington.

And they were said to have discussed Nato, which Mr Trump routinely railed against during his single term as president, which continues into January.

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had spoken to Mr Biden on Tuesday evening.

He wrote: "I called @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election. We will have a lot to do together to promote common priorities - climate, global health, international security - and effective multilateral action."

It came after controversy surrounded Mr Johnson's tweet congratulating his American counterpart on his US election victory after sharp eyed social media users spotted the word "Trump" showing faintly in the background of the message.

This led to online speculation that Number 10 had originally prepared a message to herald a Donald Trump win, only to replace it with one acknowledging the Democratic candidate's success after US media outlets called the race for the former vice president on Saturday afternoon.

Downing Street said that a 'technical' error caused the situation.

A Government spokesperson said: "As you'd expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election.

"A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic."

The Prime Minister posted on Saturday: "Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as president of the United States and to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement.

"This US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security".