The UK's former envoy to the EU Ivan Rogers told The Observer on Saturday that senior officials in European governments believe British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may decide on a no-deal Brexit after the results of the 3 November US presidential elections are announced.
Rogers cited the officials as saying that Johnson will most likely pick the no-deal if Donald Trump is re-elected.
"Several very senior sources in capitals have told me they believe Johnson will await clarity on the presidential election result before finally deciding whether to jump to 'no deal' with the EU, or to conclude that this is just too risky with [Democratic presidential nominee Joe] Biden heading for the White House, and hence live with some highly suboptimal skinny free-trade agreement", the ex-envoy said.
He added that in case of a Trump victory, high-ranking European officials believe that Johnson will think "history was going his way" with POTUS rather than Biden in the White House, something that may prompt the UK PM to conclude that he could reach "a quick and substantial post-Brexit US-UK trade deal".
Rogers warned that if Biden wins the 3 November election, it would prove hugely problematic for Johnson's government and would impair the so-called special relationship between the US and the UK.
"I don't think either Biden or his core team are anti-British, but I think they are unimpressed by both Johnson and his top team", the former envoy noted, adding that he doubts "there will be much warmth in the personal relationship".
He suggested that Britain's withdrawal from the EU will make the UK "clearly less influential because it can no longer lead European thinking on the geo-strategic issues which will matter hugely to Biden".
"So [Biden] will put Berlin and Paris – and indeed Brussels – back at the heart of US thinking: not uncritically, because the US will still have serious issues with EU approaches on economic and security issues", Rogers asserted.
Johnson Not 'Abandoning' Trump - Analysts
Experts have meanwhile warned against trusting reports about UK government officials, including Johnson himself, "abandoning" Trump in anticipation of a possible Biden victory.
"It's an exaggeration to say that Trump would be abandoned, but the expectation is that Biden will win. But we wouldn't abandon the existing president, not least because even if Trump was to lose the election, he will still be president until January 2021. And secondly, it's a stupid thing to do, because as we learned in 2016, the person that we expect to win may not win", Dr Martin Farr, a senior lecturer in Contemporary British History at Newcastle University, says.
According to him, the two nations' special relationship will "endure" after the 3 November election because "it has institutional, personal, or historical connections, which means that it is distinctive and it is special".
Farr stressed that "the value of the UK to the US has diminished" since Britain left the EU and that "it will continue to diminish unless the UK decides to restate and to maintain its defence intelligence profile, which it probably will".
He said that "the UK establishment won't want to be wrong footed and left out in the cold by backing the losing candidate" in the 3 November election.
"As far as preferable to the UK's outlook, I think (considering who we have in power right now) Trump is likely the favoured choice, simply because so much work has been done to follow him on his chosen path and align our [UK] plans with his wishes", Bailey underlined.
The remarks come after The Sunday Times cited unnamed sources as saying late last week that Johnson would face a difficult time if Biden wins the White House in November, as senior Democrats apparently see the UK Prime Minister as a Trump-style populist over a self-imposed saga with Brexit.
“There’s definitely a real Boris problem, he’s toxic to some of these people. They frame him through his relationship with Trump. They just think he’s Britain’s Trump”, one of the sources argued.