Joe Biden has downplayed the chances of brokering a post-Brexit free trade deal with the UK, as he held talks with Boris Johnson at the White House.

Downing Street said its priority was still getting a deal with the US alone. But the BBC understands that UK ministers are now considering joining an existing North American trade pact instead of pursuing a separate deal. The UK and US leaders also discussed Afghanistan, security and climate change during the 90-minute meeting.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office before the meeting, Mr Biden said the pair would discuss trade “a little bit”, adding: “We’re going to have to work that through”.

Mr Johnson earlier downplayed the chances of securing a trade deal with the US before the next general election. But during a joint appearance Vice President Kamala Harris, he told reporters there had been “real progress” on UK-US talks.