Trump could handle Brexit better, UK foreign secretary suggests in covert tape

Key Points
  • Brexit could be better handled by Trump says U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
  • Johnson was also recorded saying that he was "increasingly admiring" of the U.S. leader.
  • The U.K.'s top diplomat also spoke candidly about Vladimir Putin and Chinese tech.
Boris Johnson
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been caught on tape suggesting that President Donald Trump might do a better job of negotiating Brexit than the U.K. government.

Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) has been fraught with difficulty, with big divisions appearing within the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Speaking at a private dinner Wednesday, Johnson appeared to praise the unorthodox style of Trump.

"Imagine Trump doing Brexit," Johnson said, according to a leaked audio tape secured and published online by BuzzFeed News. "He'd go in bloody hard… There'd be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he'd gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It's a very, very good thought."

Johnson, talking candidly to fellow members of his Conservative Party, also said he was "increasingly admiring" of the U.S. leader and that he was "more and more convinced that there is method in his madness."

First Property CEO: Government has handled Brexit talks 'really badly'

The U.K.'s top diplomat was also recorded saying he feared Britain was at risk of a Brexit deal that tied the country to Europe and would not bring freedom on trade, tariffs or customs regulation.

Johnson said Britain could end up "locked in orbit around the EU, in the customs union and to a large extent still in the single market."

In further comments, not broadcast by Buzzfeed but reported by the media outlet, the U.K. foreign secretary said Vladimir Putin was embarrassed that Russia's economy is now smaller than that of Australia and that China would soon overtake Silicon Valley as the leader of global technology.

At the time of publication, the U.K. government had not responded to CNBC's request for comment.