Theresa May confirms meeting with Donald Trump at the White House on Friday

Prime Minister says the new President is likely to make a return trip to the UK later this year

Sunday 22 January 2017 11:34 GMT
Theresa May confirms upcoming meeting with President Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will discuss free trade and the importance of the NATO military alliance when she meets President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday.

Ms May is set to become the first foreign leader to meet with the new president. She said Sunday she looks forward to expanding the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Britain.

It is likely that Mrs May's trip to the US will be followed by a state visit by Mr Trump to Britain, which would include an audience with the Queen and the pomp and pageantry of which the president seems so fond.

She told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme that the Trump administration is interested in a good trade deal with Britain despite its stated "America first" policy.

Ms May says Trump values NATO even though he has spoken critically of the alliance.

The prime minister did not directly answer questions about whether she would challenge Mr Trump on some of the comments he has made about women.

She earlier criticised him for derogatory comments.

On Saturday, massive "pink pussy hat" marches in Washington DC and London highlighted Mr Trump's highly controversial past statements about women.

At least 500,000 people gathered for a rally outside the US Capitol building while organisers said an estimated 100,000 people descended on central London, as similar events were staged in Edinburgh, Bristol and cities across the US.

Ms May has promised to be "very frank" during talks, making clear she has found some of the president's comments "unacceptable", including his suggestion that his fame allowed him to "do anything" to women, such as "grabbing them by the pussy".

And she has distanced herself from suggestions the pair could rekindle the Reagan-Thatcher bond of the 1980s, saying she does not want to emulate models from the past.

The premier is "confident" of striking a trade agreement with Mr Trump despite his "America first" strategy sparking concerns in the UK about his willingness to to a deal.

But Ms May has suggested the UK and US could reduce barriers to trade before being able to sign a formal agreement after Brexit, with a new passporting system to govern transatlantic bank trade reportedly being considered.

Ms May is likely to emphasise the importance of Nato and the EU for collective security and defence after Mr Trump again worried some observers about his commitment to both organisations.

The Telegraph reported that the pair could agree a statement emphasising their commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence and urging other Nato countries to do so, as well as promising action against Isis terrorists.

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