Starmer insists Biden 'on good form' after meeting at White House

Sir Keir Starmer has said Joe Biden was "on good form" after a meeting with the US president at the White House during the NATO summit.

The prime minister dismissed concerns the US president's cognitive ability is not up to scratch as Mr Biden faces calls to step down as the Democratic candidate ahead of the election in November.

Mr Biden's suitability as president has come into question after he faced a disastrous first presidential debate against Republican rival Donald Trump nearly two weeks ago.

The president's doctor released a letter on Tuesday saying Mr Biden has shown no symptoms of Parkinson's disease or any other neurological disease after reports a specialist had visited the president several times over the past year.

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Hollywood star George Clooney wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times on Wednesday urging his friend to step down as he is "not the Joe 'big f***ing deal' Biden of 2010".

But Sir Keir told Sky News' political editor Beth Rigby: "I spent time with him yesterday. We were billed for a 45-minute bilateral but were at the best part of an hour by the time we'd finished.

"We covered a lot of ground, strategic ground stuff that I particularly wanted to raise. We worked at pace.

"He was on good form and I was very pleased that we were able to cover that amount of ground."

Asked if he thinks the criticism about Mr Biden is "misguided", Sir Keir said: "Yes.

"My own personal view is he was on good form and, you know, I was very keen obviously to discuss Ukraine, but there were many other issues that we got through last night."

Sir Keir has been thrust on to the international stage just days after winning the general election with a landslide majority.

After appointing his new cabinet, Sir Keir headed to Washington DC on Tuesday for the NATO summit celebrating 75 years since it was formed.

He has used the opportunity to flex his diplomatic muscles, meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy soon after landing.

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Sir Keir said the summit has meant a series of meetings that would normally take months to arrange could happen within the first week of his premiership.

He told reporters he wants to take full advantage of the diplomatic opportunities.

"We get the opportunity to strengthen our relations with various ... NATO leaders and others obviously that are there, including EU leaders," he said.

"Now that is a follow up, if you like, on some of the phone calls that I've already had with international leaders that I've been doing since the King invited me to form a government."