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US-UK relations 'will be closer than ever under Trump'

Donald Trump was elected as US President last week. Credit: Reuters

The US-UK relationship will be closer than ever under Donald Trump, the president-elect's potential new secretary of state has told ITV News.

John Bolton said Mr Trump's surprise victory will ensure the UK is "right at the very front of the queue" for any post-Brexit trade deals as he slammed President Obama for "threatening" British voters before June's referendum.

The 67-year-old, who is on the shortlist to be named as the country's top diplomat abroad, claimed Mr Trump will restore America's strength on the world stage and reverse what he called the "failed" and "weak" foreign policy of the Obama administration.

"I wouldn't want to be the other side of the bargaining table from him [Trump]," Bolton said.

The former US ambassador to the United Nations would be an aggressive choice for secretary of state, having previously called for the bombing of Iran and for Russia to be treated as an adversary.

Bolton played down the speculation, saying: "The decision is with the president-elect and in god's own time he will make a decision and we'll move on from there."

Russia launched a fresh offensive in Syria on Tuesday morning - a day after Trump spoke to Vladimir Putin and agreed to work more closely on fighting “international terrorism and extremism".

Vladimir Putin Credit: Reuters

Bolton denied the phone call and Trump's efforts to form closer ties with Putin had enabled Russia to take new military action.

"I don't think so, people misunderstood what Trump said. What I heard him say was Putin was a strong leader. My analysis is that Putin has taken a very weak hand and played it exceedingly well internationally - in large measure because of weak opposition from the American White House.

"Trump will be a far stronger leader and in that sense there is greater potential for keeping the Russians within appropriate lanes and, paradoxically perhaps, greater possibility for cooperation."