Rishi Sunak yesterday confirmed what has been obvious for ages - that a free trade deal between the UK and America isn’t happening any time soon.
Speaking to reporters on his trip to Washington, the prime minister admitted that such an agreement was no longer “a priority” for either side.
“Since I’ve been prime minister, we’ve been focused, as have the US, on making sure that our economic partnership reflects the opportunities and challenges of the time that we face now,” Sunak said.
But this is very different from what the PM’s predecessors used to say about the prospects of a US-UK trade deal following the Brexit vote.
Speaking in 2017, Boris Johnson said: “We hear that we’re first in line to do a great free trade deal with the USA.”
Parliament’s website still says: “The government has made agreeing a comprehensive free trade agreement (“FTA”) with the US an early priority for the UK’s independent trade policy.
“The US is the UK’s largest bilateral trading partner and largest export market outside of the EU. Trade negotiations between the UK and US were officially launched on Tuesday 5 May 2020.”
A free trade deal with the US was one of the main selling points for Brexiteers in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.
The following year, Nigel Farage claimed it could de agreed within 90 days of Donald Trump's inauguration as US president.
But by last month, the former Ukip leader admitted that "Brexit has failed".
A week later, a YouGov poll revealed that the number of Brits who regret Brexit has soared.
Just 31% now think it was was right to vote to leave the European Union, compared to 56% who say it was wrong.