Joe Biden says he was in Northern Ireland to make sure ‘the Brits didn’t screw around’

Joe Biden has said he visited Northern Ireland for the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April to make sure “the Brits didn’t screw around”.

The US president made the apparently sceptical remark about the UK’s government’s approach to post-Brexit issues at a fundraising event speech in New York on Wednesday.

“I got to go back to Ireland for the Irish Accords, to make sure they weren’t … the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments,” Mr Biden said.

The off-hand comment follows a carefully-choreographed trip to Belfast last month for the 25th anniversary of the peace deal which brought an end to decades of sectarian conflict.

The president praised Rishi Sunak’s post-Brexit deal with the EU aimed at resolving the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol – saying it could bring “significant” US investment into the province.

While Mr Biden – a Catholic who had played up his Irish roots – was careful not to push the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to end their refusal to restore powersharing government in Northern Ireland.

But his team were forced to deny claims the US president was “anti-British”.

Former DUP leader Dame Arlene Foster had claimed “Joe Biden hates the UK”, while DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the president was “anti-British” and had shown “antipathy towards Protestants”.

Mr Biden also confused the New Zealand rugby team and British reserve troops immortalised in a Irish Republican rebel song during a speech at a pub – mistakenly saying a rugby star “beat the hell out of the Black and Tans”.

The US president also told an odd joke about the “thin walls” of his childhood home at the fundraising event in Westchester County on Wednesday.

“With four kids and a grandpop living with us. I look back on it and wonder how thin those walls were for my mom and dad, but at any rate…”

The Democrat also went after Donald Trump on Wednesday as his old rival attempted to make his case for a third presidential bid at a CNN town hall event.

Mr Trump mocked E Jean Carroll, called his CNN moderator “nasty” and spread more lies about the 2020 election and his efforts to overturn the results.

“It’s simple, folks. Do you want four more years of that?” Mr Biden asked on Twitter.