President Biden on 'really good form' in talks, UK PM Starmer says

Working session at NATO's 75th anniversary summit in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Joe Biden was on "really good form" when he met Prime Minister Keir Starmer, Britain's new leader said on Thursday, praising Biden's leadership as more Democrats called on the U.S. president to drop his re-election bid due to concern over his age.

Senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi and actor George Clooney, a significant fundraiser for the Democrats, have each voiced fresh doubts about Biden's re-election chances on Wednesday after a halting debate performance two weeks ago prompted concern that he would lose to Republican Donald Trump.

Asked if Biden, who is 81, was "senile", Starmer said he had a really good meeting with him on Wednesday, adding that the bilateral - scheduled to last 45 minutes - had ran closer to an hour, and that they had both headed straight to a NATO dinner Biden was hosting afterwards.

"We went through a huge number of issues at pace. He was actually on really good form, and mentally agile - absolutely across all the detail," Starmer told the BBC in an interview, adding that it had been important to him to have such a meeting with Biden quickly after becoming prime minister last week.

Starmer spoke in Washington where he is attending a NATO summit on his first overseas trip since his Labour Party won a big majority in Britain's parliamentary election last week.

He spoke positively of Biden's "incredible leadership" in helping to guide the trans-Atlantic alliance through a tumultuous period in global affairs.

A readout of the meeting from Starmer's office said they also discussed conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza as well as Starmer's desire for closer ties with Europe.

Starmer, who has drawn inspiration for parts of his Labour Party's centre-left policy platform from Biden's administration, also paid tribute to the long-standing and so-called "special relationship" between Britain and the United States.

"I was actually really pleased to have the opportunity to be clear about the special relationship and about our longstanding commitment to NATO at this really important time," he said.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Writing by Alistair Smout; Editing by Hugh Lawson)