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World News

Woman accused of ‘claiming to be her ex to pocket £40,000 in life insurance’

A woman accused of claiming to be her ex-partner to pocket nearly £40,000 in life insurance has been bailed.

Jennifer Burton, 50, appeared before magistrates charged one count of fraud by false representation on Monday.

She was sent to crown court after Teesside Magistrates Court heard she allegedly carried out the fraud for five months in 2012.

Prosecutor Rachel Butt said during the hearing that Burton falsely signed forms in relation to Phoenix Life and received a cheque of just under £40,000, TeessideLive reports.

Burton, of Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, was accused of committing the crime in Stockton between September 1, 2012 and November 7, 2012.

She was charged with dishonestly making a false representation that she was the male victim and entitled to the proceeds of an endowment policy in order to gain a cheque of £39,646.74.

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The blonde defendant appeared in the dock wearing a black blazer and trousers and a spotted white shirt.

She entered no pleas during the short hearing.

Chair of the bench Martin Slimings told Burton that her case would have to sent to Teesside Crown Court.

He said: "Because of the high value of this offence and the breach of trust we cannot deal with this at the Magistrates' Court.

"Therefore we are going to send this at the Crown Court.

"You will make a first appearance at Teesside Crown Court on 21st December at 10 o'clock."

Burton was handed unconditional bail until that date.

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Business

Futures rise as Biden transition, vaccine progress lift mood

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks by 14 Wall Street, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in the financial district of New York, U.S., November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as the formal go-ahead for President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House ended weeks of political uncertainty and added to hopes of an economic recovery next year.

Signs that a working COVID-19 vaccine could be available before the end of the year have put the benchmark S&P 500 on course for its best November since 1980 and rekindled demand for cyclical sectors such as industrials and financials after a virus-led crash earlier this year.

Futures linked to the blue-chip Dow jumped 1% in early trading, outperforming Nasdaq 100 futures as investors set up to again rotate out of the technology heavyweights that were seen as safe bets during the recession.

After weeks of legal challenges by the Trump administration to overturn the election result, the U.S. federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition told Biden on Monday that he can formally begin the hand-over process.

Sentiment was also boosted on Monday on reports that Biden planned to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, which could shift the focus heavily toward progressive efforts to tackle growing economic inequality.

By 7:02 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 280 points, or 0.95%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 25 points, or 0.7%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36 points, or 0.3%.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, on Monday upgraded U.S. equities to “overweight”, turning bullish on quality large-cap technology companies and small cap firms that tend to perform well during a cyclical upswing.

Shares of Tesla Inc jumped 4.2% in premarket trading, putting the stock on track to hit $500 billion in market capitalization at the opening bell.

Investor attention will be on consumer confidence data for November due later in the day, although trading volumes are expected to be light in a week shortened by the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

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World News

Price of NHS dental treatments to rise by up to £13 post-lockdown

Dental treatments like crowns and root canals look set to be made more expensive as prices are hiked by £13.

Standard operations such as dentures and removing teeth will be made more expensive as NHS dental charges are set to surge by 5%.

The changes were set to be enforced on April 1 but were pushed back due to the pandemic, The Sun reported.

But the increases will take hold from December 14 meaning patients have just two weeks to avoid the extra charge.

Experts estimate that nearly 19 million dental appointments have been missed this year due to coronavirus.

Under the new prices, a routine check-up will increase by £1.10 from £22.70 to £23.80.

Treatments such as root canals or removing teeth will rise by £3.10 from £62.10 to £65.20.

Meanwhile, more complex procedures like crowns, dentures and bridges rise by £13.50 from £269.30 to £282.80.

Dentists have since fumed that health professionals are "not tax collectors" as they fear expensive procedures will put patients on.

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Speaking To The Sun, Dave Cottam, Chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice, said: "This inflation-busting hike won’t put an extra penny into a service in crisis, or help millions currently unable to get an appointment.

"We’ve appealed to the government for support to bring down the backlogs. Sadly this short-sighted approach will only give lower-income, higher-risk patients more reasons not to attend."

It comes after the BDA warned that practices are operating at a fraction of their usual capacity.

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Hundreds of dentists could be forced to close in the next year without extra support, according to reports, as patients avoid sitting in the chair.

Coronavirus regulations mean dentists have had to reduce the numbers they treat in order to clean the surgery between patients to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.

NHS data shows 19 million fewer treatments – which includes both appointments for emergency treatment and check-ups – were offered in England between March and October in 2020, compared to 2019.

The BDA previously warned that the reduction in the number of patients seen, paired with the closing of dentists, could have a dramatic impact on patients' oral health.

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Business

Biden transition and vaccine hopes drive up stocks, oil and bitcoin

LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Stocks, oil and risk currencies including bitcoin gained on Tuesday as the formal go-ahead for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition burnished a November already boosted by COVID-19 vaccines.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

European markets tracked gains in Asian and U.S. equities, with the broad-based STOXX 600 index climbing 0.6% and Brent crude climbing to its highest level since March at $46.52 a barrel. Safe haven assets such as gold fell.

After weeks of legal challenges to the election results, U.S. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy wrote to Biden on Monday informing him the formal handover process could begin.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he had told his team “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols”, an indication he was moving towards a transition.

“Markets have been constrained by very high levels of uncertainty on the U.S. political front and around vaccines for weeks, so with those two going away investors are considering the prospect of a return to normality in 2021,” said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays.

Reports that Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary further boosted U.S. stocks on expectations she would pursue more conventional policies than the outgoing Steven Mnuchin.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.7% in early European trading hours, putting the 49-country MSCI world stocks index on course to set a new record high later.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.5% to its highest level since May 1991 overnight, with energy, real estate and financial shares leading the advance.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had ticked up 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 1.26% stronger, touching its highest level in almost nine months, with energy stocks leading the pack there.

Seoul’s Kospi was 0.6% higher as was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng which rose 0.4%. China blue-chips were an outlier however, edging down 0.6%, as investors booked profits following recent strong gains.

(Graphic: Global markets enjoying November reign )

Some analysts say a Biden presidency, which could mean more negotiation room for Washington and Beijing, would not make a big difference for China’s equities market, as they expected little change in broad U.S. policy towards China.

The progress made on COVID-19 vaccines, which had underpinned Wall Street overnight, helped keep risk appetite elevated as it boosted optimism about a quicker revival for the global economy.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University said on Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine, which is cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than its rivals, could be as much as 90% effective.

RISK ON

The New Zealand dollar was among the currency gainers, rising as much as 0.9% to a two-year high of $0.6986 as its central bank said house prices, which have been storming higher this year, could be included in its inflation basket.

The euro was gaining towards $1.19 again and the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, nudged down to 92.242.

Bitcoin hit $19,000 for the first time in nearly three years, homing in on its all-time high of just under $20,000 as demand for assets perceived as resistant to inflation grows.

Also spurred on by the vaccine hopes, oil reached levels not seen since before the coronavirus began to spread rapidly in March and decimated demand.

Brent crude futures rose 45 cents, or 1%, to $46.51 a barrel to add to a more than 20% surge this month, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 46 cents, or 1.1%, to $43.52.

“Progress on developing and distributing a vaccine de-risks the path back to normal for oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at financial services firm Axi.

Adding to the positive near-term tone in markets was better than expected economic news from Germany, where gross domestic product grew by a record 8.5% in the third quarter as household spending recovered. The reading marked an upward revision to an earlier flash estimate of 8.2% growth.

The Ifo institute’s survey of business morale pointed to fears of a recession to come, however, as the business climate index fell to 90.7 from a downwardly revised 92.5 in October.

(Graphic: German IFO )

In the bond markets, the yield on the U.S. benchmark 10-year notes rose slightly to 0.87% as did those on most European government bonds. Germany’s 10-year yield was up 1 basis point to -0.57% in early trade.

Gold continued to lose its shine too, falling 1% to $1,817 an ounce having dropped 10% this month.

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Politics

Listen up, Michel! MEPs threaten to BLOCK Brexit deal even if Barnier approves it

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Senior members of the European Parliament have hinted they are still prepared to veto the free-trade agreement if the Brussels diplomat doesn’t present a “sufficiently balanced” compromise. Their warning comes as Mr Barnier is locked in intensive online negotiations with UK counterpart Lord Frost as time runs out to secure a future relationship pact. Talks resumed online yesterday after they were brought to a halt last week when an EU official tested positive for coronavirus.

The Frenchman is expected to travel to London for face-to-face talks later this week.

Disputes over future access to Britain’s fishing waters and common standards, including state aid rules, are holding up a significant breakthrough.

With EU sources expecting a last-gasp trade-off between fisheries and the level playing field, some are now worried Mr Barnier will go too far in order to secure a deal and preserve his legacy.

EU Parliament Brexit sherpa Christophe Hansen said: “If there is a deal, I believe it will be sufficiently balanced that the European Parliament can give its consent.

“Otherwise, there will be no deal. Michel Barnier knows very well what we expect from him. And that is the reason why consent will be given.”

Boris Johnson is expected to personally intervene in the trade talks amid rising hope a deal can be secured in the coming days.

Downing Street said there are still issues that need to be resolved as talks resumed yesterday.

But the Prime Minister and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are to talk to push an agreement over the line.

No10 said Parliament has shown that it can “act at pace” when it needs to pass legislation swiftly.

Brussels is hoping to have a pact signed off by Monday to allow a law to be passed in the European Parliament on December 28.

Mr Hansen said the bloc would have to meet Mr Johnson’s fisheries demands for an agreement.

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The Luxembourger MEP said: “There will be compromises to be made on fisheries. The status quo, that is somewhere we’re not going to land.”

Bernd Lange, the EU Parliament’s trade chief, said: “It’s already five past midnight. We need a text, otherwise ratification and democratic scrutiny by the European Parliament will be a farce.”

A No10 spokesman said: “We will take back control of access to our waters.”

He insisted there will no extension to the transition period.

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Irish premier Micheal Martin fuelled hopes.

He said: “I would be hopeful that by the end of this week we could see the outline of a deal. That remains to be seen. It’s down to political will.

“One must remain hopeful that a deal can be arrived at.”

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World News

Beautician blocked by Facebook over nipple tattoos for women with breast cancer

A beautician who offers women 3D nipple tattoos post-breast cancer surgery has slammed Facebook and Instagram after her accounts were blocked for sexual imagery.

Helen Frost, from Melling in Merseyside, was first introduced to the process by one of her beauty salon clients.

The 45-year-old initially offered half-price brow tattooing to those who lost their eyebrows through chemotherapy, before giving support to women suffering from breast cancer.

However, she was unable to post images of her work on Facebook or Instagram.

Helen told the Liverpool Echo her accounts had previously been blocked for weeks or even months.

She said: “Women who’ve had surgery can get a semi-permanent service on the NHS but they’ve got to go back regularly to get it done, and it can be a painful reminder.

“What I offer is a permanent procedure and I personally think my work looks better.”

Helen offers the service for free but is now struggling to promote her work.

She added: “The women I tattoo are putting up images of their scars to help other people and they are getting banned.

“It was a girl in a wet t-shirt and these don't get banned but these medical tattoos get banned.”

Helen added: “It’s dead emotional, the only way I can explain you know at the end of the tattoo is it’s like a kid on Christmas morning.

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“‘It makes women feel normal again, that’s what every woman says who I've worked on.

“I've done some fabulous work and I can't even post it.

“It’s such a massive thing for someone who has had cancer, I feel privileged to be working with them but I can't show them my work.”

Joanne Schofield, 43, from Aigburth, said it took her years to find Helen after her double mastectomy because she wasn’t able to find any examples on social media.

She explained: “After I had my mastectomy, it really knocked me, I suffered depression and anxiety and I struggled with what I saw in the mirror.

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“It took me about 2 years to find Helen because they ban everything on Facebook and I couldn’t find her work.

“I just cried when I found her and now I've got them, it was instant. Confidence was restored, I’m thrilled I feel normal again and feel like I got my womanhood back.”

Joanne believes thousands of more women would be helped by Helen if she was able to show off her work.

A Facebook spokesperson told the Liverpool Echo: "Some of the posts brought to our attention were removed in error and we apologise for the mistake.

"We allow people to post images of post-mastectomy areola tattoos on Facebook and Instagram and have restored this content.”

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World News

New nurse uploads pictures to show toll of treating coronavirus patients

A new nurse has revealed the punishing toll of treating coronavirus patients after uploading pictures of herself eight months apart.

In the pre-pandemic snap, the 27-year-old healthcare worker – known only as Kathryn – looks fresh-faced before she graduated, next to recent image of her face scarred by PPE (personal protective equipment) during a weekend shift.

It has since been shared 52,000 times on Twitter, with many saying the photo highlights the strains doctors and nurses battling Covid-19 are facing.

Kathryn, who works at a hospital in the US state of Tennessee, says the worst scar – the wound on her nose – normally disappears just in time for her to begin the next 12-and-a-half-hour shift.

She said: "On Saturday night I was in the middle of a shift, had just come out of a patient's room, and had just taken all my PPE off.

"I had the image in my head of the graduation, and I wanted to show the difference a couple of months can make, and the reality of being a nurse in the pandemic.

"Generally most of the marks fade within a few hours, but the one of my nose disappears just in time for the start of my next shift."

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The nurse said the hospital experience a surge of coronavirus cases in July, and is now in the middle of another spike.

Kathryn predicts things will get worse around Thanksgiving and Christmas as families and friends meet up, increasing the rate of infection.

She said: "I've resigned myself to the fact that things are going to be at their worst yet in a few weeks, but I just want it to happen now, so we can get it over with.

"We've kind of been in disaster mode, the entire time I've been a nurse. I've no idea what it's like to be a nurse under normal circumstances.

"There’s an antagonism now between doctors, nurses and the general public that there hasn’t been before."

There have been 4,220 deaths in the state of Tennessee and 257,000 deaths in the USA. The worldwide death toll stands at 1.4 million people.

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Business

Mytheresa Steps Closer to IPO with Confidential SEC Filing

LONDON – Mytheresa is on the road to an initial public offering in the U.S., according to a statement issued by the company.

Mytheresa Netherlands Parent B.V., the parent company of the Mytheresa Group GmbH, said late Monday that it has “confidentially submitted” a draft registration statement on Form F-1 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a “proposed initial public offering” of its ordinary shares.

The number of shares to be offered, and the price range for the proposed offering, have not yet been determined, the statement said, adding that any IPO is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

Reports have been circulating for months about Mytheresa wanting to pursue an IPO, but it is understood that the company’s new owners are looking at a variety of options now that Mytheresa has passed out of Neiman Marcus’ ownership.

Industry sources say that no decisions have been made with regard to an IPO, its timing or pricing.

In September, Mytheresa said that consolidated net revenues for the fiscal year ended in June were up 19.4 percent to 450 million euros, with 3 percent of all of Mytheresa’s customers generating 30 percent of the business.

The overall sales figure included the online business, which saw a 20 percent uptick in the 12-month period, as well as the men’s and women’s physical stores in Munich.

Although the company did not reveal a profit figure for fiscal 2020, it said overall profitability grew “significantly.”

As reported, following the Neiman Marcus bankruptcy resolution, Mytheresa is now controlled by Ares Management and the investment fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

During the court battles earlier this year, it emerged that Mytheresa was worth roughly $822 million in 2018, when the company’s ultimate owners moved it, controversially, to another part of the overall business.

Neiman Marcus originally purchased the Munich-based retailer in 2014, well before it began running into financial trouble.

 

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Business

Global stocks rise as investors cheer Biden transition, vaccine progress

WASHINGTON/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Stocks gained on Tuesday as the formal go-ahead for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition added to an already brighter mood from progress made on COVID-19 vaccines and the prospects for a speedy global economic revival.

FILE PHOTO: TV camera men wait for the opening of market in front of a large screen showing stock prices at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

European markets appeared set to extend optimism in Asian and U.S. equities, with Euro Stoxx 50 futures and FTSE futures up 0.52% and 0.42%, respectively.

U.S. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden on Monday that he can formally begin the hand-over process.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he had told his team “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols”, an indication he was moving toward a transition after weeks of legal challenges to the election results.

U.S. stocks also got an added boost after reports that Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, to become the next Treasury Secretary. Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.73% in afternoon Asian trade.

The upbeat backdrop helped MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advance 0.19% in the afternoon trade. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 1.26 percent stronger, touching its highest level in almost nine months, with energy stocks leading the pack.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.47%, after reaching 26,186.53 by 0204 GMT, its highest since May 1991, with energy, real estate and financial shares leading the advance. Seoul’s Kospi was 0.54% higher while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was steady, up 0.03%.

Chinese blue-chips were an outlier, edging down 0.85%, as investors booked profits following recent strong gains.

Some analysts say a Biden presidency, which could mean more negotiation room for Washington and Beijing, would not make a big difference for China’s equities market, as they expected little change in broad U.S. policy toward China.

The progress made on COVID-19 vaccines, which had underpinned Wall Street overnight, helped keep risk appetite elevated as it boosted optimism about a quicker revival for the global economy.

AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than its rivals, could be as much as 90% effective.

“Traders are still buying into vaccine news clearance, as the end of the pandemic becomes imaginable. Recent U.S. data restored a bit of confidence that the economy is holding up, despite surging COVID-19 infections and a painful lack of fresh fiscal stimulus,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst for IG Australia.

“And the news of Yellen’s possible nomination to the role of U.S. Treasury Secretary potentially puts a very Fed-friendly uber-dove at the reins of fiscal policy.”

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, nudged down to 92.406 while the euro gained 0.11% on the day to $1.1853.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.12% overnight, the S&P 500 gained 0.56% while the Nasdaq Composite added only 0.22%, underperforming as traders rotated away from big tech names.

Oil prices added to last week’s gains as traders anticipated the vaccine news would spur a recovery in energy demand.

“Investors are ignoring near-term headwinds, chief among which are surging global COVID infections, and instead looking ahead to next summer,” said PVM analyst Stephen Brennock.

The United States surpassed 255,000 deaths and 12 million infections since the pandemic began, with daily infections at a record near 170,000 and daily deaths around 1,500.

U.S. crude advanced 1.28% to $43.61 per barrel and Brent was at $46.58, up 1.13% on Tuesday, while an index of commodity prices touched its highest since early March.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year notes rose slightly to 0.8619%.

Spot gold fell to $1,826.86 an ounce while U.S. gold futures dropped 0.46% to $1,829.30 an ounce.

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Politics

Britons furious as Biden picks Brexit-hater for top US job – ‘We are NOT America’s poodle’

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Joe Biden, who will take over from Donald Trump next January, named Antony Blinken as his choice for secretary of state. Mr Blinken has been a longtime confidant of the President-elect, and has also expressed highly critical views of Brexit.

Mr Blinken, who served as deputy national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, once described Britain’s decision to exit the EU as a “total mess” and compared it to far-right Marine Le Pen’s rise in France.

Speaking on the Pod Save the World podcast, the American previously described the UK’s handling of Brexit as “the dog that caught the car and then the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog. It’s a total mess”.

He said “our interests would have been in keeping Britain in”.

Express.co.uk readers have reacted furiously to the news, as the UK has yet to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

But many readers were optimistic that Mr Biden’s Presidency would not thwart the UK’s success once it had left the EU.

One person wrote: “Biden can pick who he wants, it will make no difference to the UK, trade is trade, and we have the rest of the world, plus four years is not long to wait until Biden is history.”

Another said: “Good for him… I hope he will be very happy with his Brexit hating buddy…

“Meanwhile the UK continues to progress without the help of this idiot!”

JUST IN: Brexit fisheries row: EU fishermen fear ‘we will go bankrupt’

A third fumed: “We are NOT AMERICAS POODLE if Joe doesn’t want to trade with the uk well ce la vie we are able to trade around the world with bigger friends than Joe, so bring it on!”

One user claimed anyone who opposes Brexit is also opposed to democracy.

They wrote: “If he hates Brexit he hates democracy.”

Another reader said: “Staying in the EU, would have been a ‘Blinkin mess’.”

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One reader said the UK should not fear Mr Blinken’s appointment, and suggested Britain should ditch hopes of a trade deal with the US altogether.

They wrote: “Are we supposed to be scared of this person.

“If that is the intent then its failed dramatically and to be honest I for one would not like a deal under Biden or the democrats, too biased for me and sane thinking people!”

Another person suggested Mr Blinken will be “powerless” to act on his anti-Brexit views.

They wrote: “Yes Blinken can voice his displeasure but ultimately is powerless to affect any meaningful political change in the UK, but he’s welcome to his beliefs.”

Boris Johnson has so far sought to prioritise a UK-US free trade agreement.

But his efforts may be about to hit a brick wall, as Mr Biden opposes Brexit and has reservations about the Prime Minister, who he once likened to a “physical and emotional clone” of Mr Trump.

The President-elect is likely to forge closer ties with the EU during his tenure, which could hamper the UK’s attempts to secure a prosperous trade deal with the US.

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