The US is ready to strike a bilateral trade deal with the UK "as soon as possible", a senior American politician has said.
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said he wanted the UK and the European Union "to come together and strike a lasting agreement" for Brexit.
"A strong UK-EU relationship is in all of our best interests", he said,
In a speech for the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Mr Ryan said that the US stood "ready to forge a new trade agreement with Great Britain as soon as possible so that we may further tap into the great potential between our two people."
His clear signal provides a significant boost for Theresa May as European Union leaders prepare take the first steps towards agreeing a negotiating position for forthcoming Brexit talks -once the UK's snap general election, on 8 June, is over.
Mr Ryan's comments come as the Prime Minister prepares to hold talks with Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, which will ultimately have to approve any post-Brexit deal between the UK and EU.
Answering questions from an audience including International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and other Cabinet ministers, Mr Ryan said he was confident the UK and EU could agree an exit deal.
“This is your country, you make those decisions,” he said. “But I assume you will get an agreement, I can't imagine you won't, and I just want you to know that as your special ally, as your greatest partner, we're going to stand with you through all of this.
“We think it's in everyone's interests to have a strong relationship between Britain and the EU, we want to, as soon as the UK is ready and able, to do a trade agreement, a bilateral trade agreement.”
Mr Ryan added: “I think what we're going through if we handle this correctly will be to bring more prosperity and security to our respective countries.”
The Congressional leader also said the US would "work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations".
His speech followed an earlier meeting with Chancellor Philip Hammond in Downing Street.