Joe Biden teases Rishi Sunak about his home in California


Joe Biden joked about Rishi Sunak’s home in California in an awkward reminder of the issue which damaged the prime minister’s No 10 aspirations.

The president teased his counterpart during a press conference in San Diego as they announced of a new submarine pact between the US, UK and Australia.

“First of all, I want to welcome you back to California,” Mr Biden said. “He’s a Stanford man, and he still has a home here in California.”

The US president added: “That’s why I’m being very nice to you – maybe you can invite me to your home in California. But all kidding aside, I think it’s an historic day for our countries.”

Mr Sunak met his wife Akshata Murty, daughter of India billionaire NR Narayana Murthy, while undertaking a MBA at Stanford University. The couple have a home in Santa Monica.

Last year it emerged that the then-chancellor had retained a US green card while he was still in the No 11 role, damaging his standing as a the top contender to replace Boris Johnson.

It came as The Independent revealed that Ms Murty held special non-domicile status which allowed her to avoid paying UK tax on her overseas income.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden said he intends to visit Northern Ireland after being invited by Mr Sunak to mark the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

As the pair met in Point Loma naval base, Mr Biden said: “It’s my intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

Mr Sunak revealed that Mr Biden had also invited him to visit Washington DC in June. “I was pleased to accept the president’s invitation,” the PM told reporters.

The pair discussed the “increased assertiveness” of the Chinese Communist Party and the need to ensure that Ukraine “both wins the war and secures a lasting peace where it cannot be threatened by Russia in the same way again” during talks.

The Aukus deal involving Australia, the UK and US agreed this week will see the new boats in operation in the late 2030s following a construction phase which will create thousands of jobs in the UK.

The new SSN-Aukus submarines will be in operation for the Royal Navy by the late 2030s under the plan, and will also give Australia its first nuclear-powered capability.

The UK’s submarines will mainly be built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Rolls-Royce. They will replace the Royal Navy’s Astute-class boats when they enter into operation.

Australia’s boats will be built in South Australia, using some components manufactured in the UK, and will be in service in the early 2040s.

Mr Sunak said: “I am hugely pleased that the plans we have announced today will see pioneering British design expertise protect our people and our allies for generations to come.”

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