Trump: Leaving EU will be a great thing for UK

US president-elect, Donald Trump
US president-elect, Donald Trump

Donald Trump has pledged to work to secure a rapid trade agreement with Britain, predicting that leaving the European Union would be a "great thing" for the UK.

In an interview for The Times, the US president-elect said he would be inviting Theresa May for early talks in Washington following his inauguration on Friday.

In contrast to Barack Obama, who said Britain would be at the "back of the queue" when it came to a trade deal with the US, Mr Trump made clear it would be a priority for his administration.

"We're gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides," he said.

"I will be ­meeting with (Mrs May). She's requesting a meeting and we'll have a meeting right after I get into the White House. I think we're gonna get something done very quickly."

His comments came as the Prime Minister prepared to set out her strategy for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations in a major speech on Tuesday.

He disclosed that the Prime Minister had written to him shortly after Christmas with a copy of Winston Churchill's address to the ­Americans after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

In her letter, she said she hoped the feeling of "unity and fraternal association" between the two countries was "as true today as it has ever been".

Speaking to Michael Gove, the former cabinet minister and co-leader of the Leave campaign, Mr Trump also made clear that, unlike Mr Obama, he welcomed the result of last June's referendum vote.

"People, countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity. Brexit is going to end up being a great thing," he said.