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Is the ‘special relationship’ all over? Biden didn’t use phrase during first meeting with Liz Truss

Is the ‘special relationship’ over? Joe Biden did not use the phrase during first meeting with Liz Truss, sparking rumors it will be ‘retired’

  • The prime minister’s first meeting with Biden in Washington showed that the phrase may be phased out
  • US President Biden instead told Liz Truss: ‘You are our closest ally in the world.’
  • ‘Special relationship’ coined by Churchill on a 1946 lecture tour of American universities
  • The White House denied the term was ‘retired’ but offered to suspend its use

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The term has long stood for the enduring bond between Great Britain and the United States.

But Liz Truss’ first meeting with Joe Biden in Washington suggested the term ‘special relationship’ may be phased out as she launched her new foreign policy ethos.

The president did not utter the words, first used by Winston Churchill, during bilateral talks, but instead told her: ‘You are our closest ally in the world.’

Last night the White House denied the term had been ‘retired’ but offered to suspend its use, with an official statement saying: ‘We’re shutting it down until we can figure out what’s going on.’

However, the exchange was in stark contrast to when Miss Truss entered No.10 earlier this month.

At the time, Mr Biden said he looked forward to ‘deepening the special relationship’ between the two nations.

Liz Truss' first meeting with Joe Biden in Washington suggested the term 'special relationship' may be phased out.  The two leaders held a bilateral meeting during the Prime Minister's visit to the United States to attend the 77th UN General Assembly

Liz Truss’ first meeting with Joe Biden in Washington suggested the term ‘special relationship’ may be phased out. The two leaders held a bilateral meeting during the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States to attend the 77th UN General Assembly

President Biden did not utter the words first used by Winston Churchill, but instead told Mrs Truss: 'You are our closest ally in the world.'

President Biden did not utter the words first used by Winston Churchill, but instead told Mrs Truss: 'You are our closest ally in the world.'

President Biden did not utter the words first used by Winston Churchill, but instead told Mrs Truss: ‘You are our closest ally in the world.’

Although he previously used the term when dealing with Boris Johnson, the former prime minister has argued for claiming the term as it risks sounding ‘needy and weak’.

His official spokesman noted: “He prefers not to use the term, but it in no way negates the significance in which we regard our relationship with the United States.”

Miss Truss has previously backed her predecessor’s thoughts on the matter. Last year, the Prime Minister told a fringe event at the Tory conference that the relationship was “special but not exclusive”, adding that Britain should not be “worried like a teenage girl at a party if we are not considered good enough”. .

The term was first used by Churchill on a 1946 lecture tour of American universities. It was mostly used to describe the close relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Relations between the countries have been strained in recent years, particularly over post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland.

Miss Truss held talks with Mr Biden at the UN General Assembly in New York in an attempt to find common ground and reset the relationship.