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Boris Johnson will push Joe Biden to change Covid-19 travel rules and let Britons fly to America when they meet on Tuesday in the White House for the first time.
The Prime Minister will make an “impassioned” case for why the US President should lift his travel ban by allowing fully vaccinated people in the UK to travel directly into America.
Mr Biden’s failure to ease restrictions - despite both leaders pledging to take action when they met at the G7 summit in June - has frustrated Whitehall and left UK businesses despairing.
There will also be a push for Mr Biden to promise billions of dollars more in climate financing for developing nations to help Mr Johnson hit a flagship Cop26 UN climate conference target.
Watch: Covid travel traffic light system is scrapped
The Prime Minister flew to New York on Sunday, kick-starting a four-day US visit where he will attend the UN General Assembly before his first White House trip since entering Number 10 in July 2019.
It follows a boost to the special relationship last week as the UK and US signed a new three-way defence pact with Australia, including the deployment of defence-powered submarines in the Indo-Pacific, infuriating France which saw its deal with Australia ditched.
One of the key items on Mr Johnson’s agenda for the White House talks on Tuesday is to convince Mr Biden to overturn the travel ban initially adopted by Donald Trump which has been kept in place.
A senior government source told The Telegraph: “The Prime Minister will make an impassioned case for Brits who’ve been double jabbed to be allowed to travel to the US. There are a lot of family links, business links and millions of tourists usually travel every year.”
In a normal year more than four million Britons fly to America a year, but during the pandemic and the tight US restrictions only a fraction of those trips are happening.
Under the Biden administration rules only US citizens and residents can travel from scores of countries, including the UK, most of Europe and Canada, into America.
Exemptions are available by applying to US embassies but UK-US business bodies stress that the process is bureaucratic and time-consuming, with no guarantee of success.
A UK-US travel taskforce was established when Mr Johnson and Mr Biden held their first in-person meeting as world leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.
Since then, the UK Government has eased rules by allowing double-jabbed Americans to avoid quarantine when they arrive in the UK. However, Mr Biden is yet to act, despite repeated reports that his administration is considering changing the rules.
US fears variants
The US administration has argued that the rules protect the country from potential new Covid-19 variants that could emerge and be more deadly at breaking through vaccinations.
Mr Biden is not expected to announce a change in the rules this week, but Downing Street will still press their case behind closed doors.
Liz Truss, the new Foreign Secretary, will join Mr Johnson on the visit, marking her first international trip in her new role.
Another key focus of the visit, which will see the Prime Minister hold talks with world leaders and UN senior figures in New York, will be shoring up support for climate change action ahead of Cop26.
The UN climate change conference is being hosted in Glasgow at the start of November, with Mr Johnson under pressure to make sure flagship targets are hit.
Mr Johnson is championing a decade-long UN drive to finally convince developed nations to give $100billion a year in climate finance to developing countries.
Currently, it is estimated that between $80billion and $90billion a year has been pledged, short of the $100billion.
Touching down in New York, Mr Johnson issued a rallying cry to world leaders with less than two months left until the Glasgow gathering.
He said: “In coming together to agree the $100billion pledge, the world’s richest countries made an historic commitment to the world’s poorest – we now owe it to them to deliver on that.
“Richer nations have reaped the benefits of untrammelled pollution for generations, often at the expense of developing countries. As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean, green and sustainable way we have a duty to support them in doing so – with our technology, with our expertise and with the money we have promised.”
Part of that message is deliberately aimed at the Oval Office, with rising concern in the UK that unless the Biden administration goes further at least one key target is in doubt.
Britain, Germany, France and Canada have all recently increased their promises on climate finance for developing countries.
But there is growing frustration in Whitehall that Mr Biden has not yet announced the increase that he has long been hinting is coming. Mr Johnson is expected to push on this when they meet.
Differences over the Northern Ireland Protocol - the Biden administration wants the UK to stick to the agreement; Mr Johnson is considering reneging unilaterally on it - are also expected to crop up in talks.
Mr Johnson will also meet Kamala Harris, the US vice president, as well as the Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress to shore up the special relationship
Watch: Boris Johnson calls on richest countries to meet $100bn climate pledge