UK's ambassador to US: 'We do speak out and did speak out against President Trump'

ITV News at Ten Presenter Tom Bradby interviews the UK's ambassador to the UK

The UK's ambassador to the US has defended Number 10's relationship with the Trump administration telling ITV News: "We do speak out and did speak out against President Trump".

Speaking after Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the US on Wednesday, Karen Pierce said the British government had been critical of Donald Trump "when we thought his policies were wrong".

"Most recently, the prime minister was very critical of what happened at the Capitol and of President Trump's role in that," she said.

Indeed, the ambassador praised the inauguration ceremony as "a ratification of American democracy and a peaceful orderly transition of power" following the January 6 riots.

At the time, Boris Johnson said Donald Trump was "completely wrong" to encourage supporters to storm Congress and to cast doubt on Joe Biden's presidential election win.

Quizzed on whether Number 10 "should have done a bit more" to distance itself from Mr Trump - in light of the tumultuous final few weeks of his presidency - Ms Pierce told ITV News the two countries were "close allies."

"America is Britain's closest ally and has been for decades," she said.

"I think any leader in Britain and any American counterpart is going to want a strong relationship - it's in Britain's interests to have such a strong relationship."

Ms Pierce replaced Sir Kim Darroch as the UK's British ambassador to the US after leaked Foreign Office memos revealed he had described the White House as "inept", "incompetent" and "uniquely dysfunctional".

Ms Pierce said the "special relationship" between the UK and America would remain under the new administration.

"They know that America and Britain want to have a strong relationship," she said of the incoming administration.

"It's already a deep and profound relationship and they will want it to be successful just like we will."

President Biden has already spoken out on British matters, stressing in November the importance of keeping the Irish border open following Brexit.

Pressed on whether that relationship would be harder with the Biden administration, Ms Pierce said: "With any new administration, you want to re-earn the specialness, you want to re-earn the place as ally number one.

"It's true of all incoming administrations, you have to prove that you're a worthwhile partner".

On what is set to be first on the agenda between the UK and US, Ms Pierce told ITV News there would be an "emphasis on getting the international system back in good working order under American leadership.

"I think that's the tone and the overarching strategic framework."