Boris Johnson has said he will work ‘hand in hand’ with Joe Biden after he takes office.
The government hopes Biden’s inauguration as US president will mark the start of a new political era following the turbulence of Donald Trump’s administration.
The UK’s ambassador to the US, Dame Karen Pierce, said there was “a lot of optimism” in Washington ahead of the inauguration ceremony, which has been scaled back as a result of coronavirus measures.
She suggested that Biden would be a more predictable partner for the UK – but defended Trump’s unorthodox approach to international affairs.
“There were certain things about the way Donald Trump, President Trump, did business that made it harder for certain quarters, the Russians would be one, to second guess him, and that sometimes has a utility,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.
“But I think the whole of the diplomatic corps is very pleased to see American democracy come out on top.”
The prime minister is viewed with suspicion by some influential Democrats who regard him as “Trump clone” – an image that he is anxious to shake off.
In his statement, Johnson pointed to the continuing common interests the UK and the US share on defence, security and “defending democracy”.
At the same time, he highlighted Britain’s upcoming role in chairing the G7 summit in Cornwall and the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow – both priorities for the new administration, as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson said: “In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defence, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them.
“I look forward to welcoming him to Carbis Bay for the G7 and Glasgow for Cop as we join forces to protect our planet.
“Only through international co-operation can we truly overcome the shared challenges which we face.”