Donald Trump has warned Boris Johnson he would struggle to strike a new Brexit deal with Brussels – heightening fears the UK will leave without a pact.
Forging a fresh agreement with the EU would be “tough”, the US President said, as he hailed European negotiators.
He delivered the doomsday alert after lavishing praise on the rookie Prime Minister following three days of talks at the G7 summit in Biarritz.
Speaking at a press conference in the French seaside resort, Mr Trump said: “Boris has to try and do something with Brexit – it’s very tough.
“I deal with the EU – it’s a very strong group of people, they have their ideas and they’re not easy to deal with, I will tell you.
“The EU is very tough to make deals with – just ask Theresa May .”
The latest siren warning came as the PM desperately tries to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, vowing to strip the Irish Backstop – designed to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic – from the pact.
The PM and President beamed over the weekend as they held their first face-to-face talks since Mr Johnson entered No10.
Heaping praise on the Tory leader, Mr Trump gushed: “I really believe that Boris Johnson will be a great Prime Minister.
“We really like each other, and we had a great two and a half days.
“I have been waiting for him to be Prime Minister for about six years.
“I told him, ‘What took you so long?'”
Comparing Mr Johnson with his predecessor, the President went on: “Theresa was unable to do the deal.
“I gave her my ideas as to doing the deal very early.
“She chose to do it her way and that didn’t work out so well.”
Mr Johnson was forced to wait to hold his own press conference as the US President’s overran.
When he did eventually take to the stage, the PM was confronted by Mr Trump’s warning.
The Tory leader said: “I heard him say the EU are tough negotiators.
“That’s true but then so are the Americans and so is everybody else – everybody is a tough negotiator.
“But that doesn’t mean we won’t do a deal and I am working very hard to do that.
“It will be difficult, there is a substantial disagreement but my job is to make our case.”
He was more “marginally more optimistic” of reaching a deal than he was before the summit, he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week gave Mr Johnson 30 days to come up with alternatives to the Backstop.
“It’s a big job but we do think it can be done,” claimed the PM.
“I think that our German friends and our French friends have certainly listened very carefully to what we have had to say.
“It all depends on how seriously they wish to get a deal.”
Jeremy Corbyn is hosting hosts a meeting of opposition party leaders in London on Tuesday, bidding to torpedo a no-deal departure.
But insisting the UK would leave the bloc on October 31, Mr Johnson warned: “I think it’s the job of everybody in Parliament to get this thing done.
“I think it’s what the people want, I also think, by the way, it’s what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want – they want it over.
“They are very enthusiastic about getting on with the future. They regard Brexit now as an encumbrance, an old argument.
“They want to talk about the new partnership that we’re going to build.”
He also swerved saying whether he had confidence in Commons Speaker John Bercow, who Brexiteers accuse of helping Remainers find ways to thwart leaving.
“It’s not for the Prime Minister to express confidence in the Speaker but I hope all parliamentarians will give their good offices to respect the will of the people and get Brexit done on October 31,” said Mr Johnson.
The PM repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal departure.
Asked about negotiations running close to the October 31 deadline, Mr Johnson added: “I do think that the EU does tend to come to an agreement right at the end that’s what I’ve noticed in my own observation of Brussels negotiations.
“Clearly for us the walking away as it were would come on October 31 when we would take steps to come out … we would have by then made absolutely colossal extensive and fantastic preparations.”
At the summit, Mr Johnson was boosted by an endorsement from Aussie PM Scott Morrison.
He said a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain could be struck within a year.
Responding to Mr Johnson’s warning a UK-US deal would take more than a year, Mr Morrison told reporters: “I would like to think we can move quicker than that.
“You’ve just got to get round the table and work it through.”
Meanwhile, PM Mr Johnson used talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to beg for an invitation to visit the Far East.
“As soon as we’ve got Brexit done, which will be on October 31 – as I never tire of telling people in the UK – I want to make sure that we come to Japan, if that would be something you would welcome?” pleaded the PM.
Yesterday it emerged Mr Trump plans to host next year’s G7 at one of his own properties – the Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami.
G7 countries take it in turn to stage the summit, often choosing locations that show off areas of natural beauty.
Trump said the Florida resort was a perfect choice because it was just a five-minute drive from Miami airport.
“They love the location of the hotel, they also like the fact is it right next to the airport for convenience – and it is Miami, Doral, Miami, so it is a great area,” he said in Biarritz.
“It’s very big.”
The venue is set in 800 acres, boasts four golf courses and 643 rooms, plus more than 100,000 square feet of event space – including the Donald J Trump Grand Ballroom.
He said: “It’s a great place.
“It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens.
“People are really liking it – plus it has buildings that are 50 to 70 units so each delegation can have its own building, so you’d have the seven various delegations that could have their own building.”
While a final decision is yet to be taken, the President added: “We haven’t had anything that could even come close to competing with it, especially when you look at the location.”