White House suspends ‘special relationship’ label for British and US relations

Downing Street later confirmed that the then-prime minister “prefers not to use the phrase”, while stressing it “in no way detracts” from the importance of Britain’s relationship with its closest ally.

There was speculation Mr Johnson’s successor also dislikes the phrasing, which was adopted by Mr Churchill in one of his most significant post-war speeches in 1946.

But last night Downing Street sources said Ms Truss was relaxed about the use of the phrase, and had even used it during her leadership bid.

In a speech as foreign secretary last year, Ms Truss stressed that Britain’s relationship with the US is “special but not exclusive”, stressing that “there are other allies too”.

Ms Truss was also reported to have questioned the validity of the term during one of her first meetings as foreign secretary with her Antony Blinken, her US counterpart.

The White House said Mr Biden had a “candid” discussion about the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the US president insisting it be kept and is a matter of “personal importance”.

But officials said later that Mr Biden did not use a possible trade deal to threaten Ms Truss over Northern Ireland.

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