Buoyant UK Finance Minister Osborne tells US: “Britain’s got its mojo back”

By Andrew Atkinson

(Bloomberg) — Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has a message for the U.S.: “Britain has got its mojo back.”

Speaking in New York on Monday, Osborne said it was a “real source of pride” for him that the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly last week to join coalition air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne looks up during a tour of Small Business Saturday Christmas Fair at the Treasury in London, Britain. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne looks up during a tour of Small Business Saturday Christmas Fair at the Treasury in London, Britain. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth.

“My message to you is that Britain has got its mojo back and we are going to be with you as we reassert western values, confident that our best days lie ahead,” Osborne told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Noting that the British economy has outpaced its Group of Seven peers for two years and is projected to match the U.S. in 2016, Osborne said the direction set by his new Conservative- only government “speaks to a Britain that is reasserting itself on the world stage.”

Osborne admitted that the defeat Prime Minister David Cameron suffered in 2013 when lawmakers were asked to back military action against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad was a “striking moment.”

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“It was a moment when Britain was unable to follow the lead asked of it by our prime minister and the government,” he said. “It is for me a source of real pride that actually a couple of years later the House of Commons has voted by a big majority to take part in the action already being directed against this terrorist organization Isis or Daesh in Syria.”

The effectiveness of air strikes should not be underestimated when supported by Syrian opposition forces on the ground, he said.

Osborne is the favorite with bookmakers to take over from Cameron before 2020. His visit to New York is the latest in a series of foreign trips in which he has expanded on issues well beyond his finance-ministry portfolio.

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