'Complete harmony' on need to uphold Good Friday Agreement, says PM after meeting with Joe Biden

ITV News Political Editor Libby Wiener on how Joe Biden wants to reset the Western Alliance with the PM during G7

There is "complete harmony" on the need to uphold the Good Friday Agreement, Boris Johnson has said after an hour long meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Mr Johnson said the UK, US and EU were united in their aim to "uphold the Good Friday Agreement and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going

He added: "That’s absolutely common ground and I’m optimistic we can do that."

The PM said President Biden had not urged him to move forward on a solution to disagreements over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The issue had threatened to overshadow the Prime Minister’s first meeting with the President and his hosting of the G7 summit, which begins on Friday in Carbis Bay.

Boris Johnson says that there is "complete harmony" on all sides about the need to uphold the Good Friday Agreement:

Mr Johnson also praised the relationship between the US and the UK saying it was of "massive strategic importance."

He added the Biden administration were a "breath of fresh air with a lot of things they want to do together."

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the two had “agreed that the UK-US partnership was more important than ever” in tackling climate change and in the Covid pandemic recovery. 

The leaders had also agreed to expand trade and work towards a “a future UK-US Free Trade Agreement” between the countries and to work towards reopening travel.

Boris Johnson says the Biden administration is a "breath of fresh air":

The spokesman added: “The Prime Minister and President both reaffirmed their commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and to protecting the gains of the peace process. 

"The leaders agreed that both the EU and the UK had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unencumbered trade between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland."

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston explains how the Good Friday Agreement issue has not gone away

The spokesman continued: “The Prime Minister outlined his ambitions to further expand opportunities for all the people in Northern Ireland and hoped that the US would continue to work with the UK to boost prosperity there. 

“The Prime Minister said he hoped that President Biden would attend the UK-hosted COP26 Summit later this year.

"The leaders agreed to not only work to reach net zero in their own countries, but also to make sure that developing world economies had access to green technology.”

It was a 'very productive meeting' with PM Boris Johnson, Biden says

In an official speech after the meeting with Mr Johnson, the US president said he and the PM had a "very productive meeting" which "reaffirmed the special relationship".

"We discharged and discussed a broad range of issues on which the United Kingdom and the United States are working in very close cooperation."

He added that the pair will "rebuild on the Atlantic Charter" which was first created by former PM Winston Churchill and ex-President Franklin Roosevelt.

First Lady Jill Biden, US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson walk outside Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall Credit: Toby Melville/PA

He said it will be updated to focus on the key challenges of this century, including cybersecurity, global health and climate change.

When asked by ITV News how his meeting were going so far in Cornwall, Mr Biden replied "very well."

Earlier on, ahead of the meeting, Mr Biden said he was looking forward to “affirming the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom” – despite Mr Johnson’s dislike of the term to describe the transatlantic partnership because he believes it makes Britain look needy.

The two leaders and their wives – Carrie Johnson and Jill Biden – admired the view over Carbis Bay before their meeting.

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden meet in Cornwall ahead of the G7

Mr Biden said: “I told the Prime Minister we have something in common. We both married way above our stations.”

Mr Johnson responded: “I’m not going to dissent on that one. I’m not going to disagree with you there or indeed on anything else, I think highly likely.”

Credit: Number 10

First Lady Dr Jill Biden and Carrie Symonds were pictured playing with Wilfred Johnson on the beach on Thursday afternoon.

Aside from Brexit, Mr Johnson and Mr Biden will work on efforts to resume transatlantic travel and agree a new Atlantic Charter paving the way for co-operation on challenges including climate change and security.

But Mr Biden, who takes pride in his Irish roots, will also raise the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol which will feature heavily in discussions with the UK and European Union over the coming days of intense diplomatic activity in Cornwall.