Brexit Leader To Meet With Donald Trump Saturday To Talk Trade

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Nigel Farage, the British politician who helped lead the Brexit vote to separate from the European Union, is in New York City Saturday to meet with President-elect Donald Trump – and he is offering himself up as a self-appointed British trade emissary.

Farage campaigned for Trump during the presidential election campaign and Trump repeatedly identified with Farage and his support of Brexit, the nationalist forces who triumphed in a national referendum on whether Britain should stay or leave the European Union.

Farage is currently the interim leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party. Britain’s Conservative government was quick to deny that Farage’s meeting with Trump had any official sanction, offering a non-committal statement that the international trade secretary would not be contacting Farage when he returns to Britain.

Farage is convinced that his friendship with Trump can be an asset to the British government and is prepared to be a go-between for the incoming Trump administration and the British government that was deeply divided over Brexit.

“If I am called of course I will help – I am interested in doing the best for the country,” Farage said.

But regardless of Farage’s influence, most Conservative Members of Parliament supported Brexit and many are now advocating that Britain join in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement that currently encompasses the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said he would welcome the opportunity to revisit NAFTA and is open to talks with Trump.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a staunch Trump ally and widely expected to be favored for a top cabinet post in the new administration, advocated British membership in NAFTA in 1998.