Those listening to US President Donald Trump praising former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson may had a sense of deja vu – many of his sentiments echoed those of Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters.

A few days before Trump's visit to the UK Johnson quit his role as Foreign Minister in protest at the Brexit White Paper.

In a controversial interview with The Sun, Trump had questioned the White Paper and said he believed Johnson would make a great Prime Minister.

The interview was published just as Trump arrived for dinner with British Prime Minister Theresa May.


Former New Zealand High Commissioner to London Lockwood Smith described the interview as "outrageous" on TVNZ today.

"It is a really tricky time here and there's no doubt that President Trump's comments have not helped. To be endorsing Boris at a time when the Prime Minister is facing some challenges, it ain't easy. It ain't helpful."

What Trump said to The Sun stopped short of saying he believed Johnson should become Prime Minister over May, saying he was "not pitting one against the other".

"I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister. I think he's got what it takes."

Johnson is "a very talented guy".

"I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me, and says very good things about me.

"I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point.

"I think he is a great representative for your country."


Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Peters would not say if he thought Johnson would be a good Prime Minister or should take over, but said he was expecting a "spill" and British politics had not seen the end of Johnson.

"It's very sad on a personal basis because I think he's something that's lacking in worldwide politics, a man of true character, fascinating, bright, intelligent and we had a good relationship.

"I kind of think there's more to come from Boris in the future and this is just the beginning of what is quite a momentous time in British politics."