Theresa May hopes Donald Trump visit will boost US-UK links


Theresa May and Donald Trump

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EPA

US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK will be an opportunity to boost trade links and strengthen cooperation on security, Theresa May has said.

The PM also warned Mr Trump not to ignore the “malign behaviour” of Russia when he meets Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Mr Trump, who arrives this afternoon for a two-day working visit, will spend time with the Queen and Mrs May.

Thousands of people are expected to protest against the president’s visit across the UK.

His arrival comes just days after he said the UK was in “turmoil” and “it is up to the people” whether Mrs May stays as prime minister.

He also said he had “always liked” Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary on Monday, while he joked that his meeting with Russian leader Mr Putin in Helsinki next week “may be the easiest” part of his European trip.

Along with trade and security links, Downing Street said key areas to be discussed between the two leaders included Russia, Brexit and the Middle East.

Ahead of Mr Trump’s visit, Mrs May said: “As two nations – we are safer, more prosperous and more creative when we work together and I am looking forward to this week’s important discussions.”

She said that when the UK leaves the European Union “there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead”.

Downing Street insisted Mrs May welcomed Mr Trump’s decision to “engage” with the Russian leader in the Finnish capital on Monday.

However No 10 also made clear that she expected him to raise issues like the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Mrs May said: “Our long term objective remains a constructive relationship with Moscow. If we are to be successful in this we must keep engaging individually and as an alliance.

“That is why I welcome President Trump’s forthcoming meeting with President Putin – open channels of communication between the US and Russia are key to managing the risks of confrontation.”

Mr Trump will arrive in the UK with his wife Melania on Thursday afternoon, following the Nato summit.

The couple will attend a dinner, hosted by Mrs May, at Blenheim Palace – the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill – on Thursday evening.

Cabinet members, including Chancellor Philip Hammond and the new foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as well as business leaders, will be among the guests.

On Friday, Mrs May and Mr Trump will go to to watch a joint counter-terrorism exercise by British and US special forces at a military base.

The pair will then travel to Chequers – the PM’s country residence in Buckinghamshire – for talks with the foreign secretary.

The president and first lady will travel to Windsor on Friday afternoon to meet the Queen, before flying to Scotland to spend the weekend at Mr Trump’s Turnberry golf resort. This part of the visit is being considered private.

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AFP

Image caption

The president will stay at Winfield House, US ambassador Woody Johnson’s London residence, on Thursday night

The Police Federation has warned the visit will put “unquestionable pressure” on UK police forces.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to protest against the president in London on Thursday and Friday – and in Glasgow on Saturday.

Police forces from across the country have been asked to send officers to assist the Metropolitan Police.

Smaller demonstrations are also expected to be held across the UK, including Devon, Dundee, Edinburgh, Belfast, Norwich, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has granted permission for a giant inflatable figure depicting Mr Trump as a baby to fly over Westminster for two hours on the second day of the president’s visit.



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