President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer during a bilateral meeting at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. EPA-EFE/TING SHEN / POOL


Biden forges ties with new UK PM Starmer at NATO meeting in Washington


US President Joe Biden warmly welcomed Britain’s new Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at his first NATO meeting in Washington on the 75th anniversary of the transatlantic military alliance.

Starmer met Biden at the White House on July 11 where they discussed the two countries’ bilateral relations, the UK-EU relationship and the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, according to a British Government statement.

“The President welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent comments on establishing closer relations with our European counterparts, as well as the UK’s commitment to AUKUS,” it said. AUKUS is the 2021 trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region between Australia, the UK and the US designed to strengthen their presence there in the midst of China’s military build-up and growing threats to Taiwan.

“We are stronger when we unite and work together,” the government note said.

UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden talk during a meeting of the heads of state of the North Atlantic Council at the 2024 NATO Summit on July 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Asked by journalists about the UK’s possible return to the European Union, Starmer rejected any move to rejoin the common market and the customs union. He did welcome improved co-operation on defence issues, especially given the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Starmer’s recent UK election victory is being used by the US Democrats to boost Biden in the polls after his problematic debate with Trump on June 27.

There is increasing pressure from many quarters for him to withdraw from the presidential race. Most recently, actor George Clooney and Democrat politician and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the need for a candidate to replace Biden.

Clooney said: “Our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw,” referring to Biden’s apparently confused performance in the debate with Trump broadcast on CNN.

Pelosi said: “It’s up to the President to decide if he is going to run. We’re all encouraging him to make that decision, because time is running short.

“He is beloved, he is respected, and people want him to make that decision.”