Nigel Farage: Donald Trump cancelled UK visit over public protests led by likes of Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan

The ex-Ukip leader said 'maybe those optics he didn't like the look of'

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Friday 12 January 2018 09:07 GMT
Nigel Farage: Donald Trump cancelled UK visit over public protests led by Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan

Nigel Farage has blamed Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan for backing protests that could have deterred Donald Trump from visiting the UK.

The ex-Ukip leader hit out after news broke overnight that the US President had cancelled a visit planned for next month to open his country’s new embassy in London.

As well as the visit to open the embassy, Mr Trump is supposed to be in line for a state visit. But the idea appears to have been put on ice amid concern about demonstrations.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Farage said: “It’s disappointing. He’s been to countries all over the world and yet he’s not been to the one with whom he’s closest. I think it’s disappointing.

“Maybe just maybe Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.”

News that Mr Trump had ditched his visit in February to open the new US embassy at Battersea was broken by the Daily Mail, which confirmed no new date had been offered for the trip.

With demonstrators having threatened mass protests if Mr Trump ever set foot in the country, the President himself took to Twitter to explain the cancellation.

He claimed it was because the Obama administration had made a “bad deal” by moving the embassy, though official records show it was the previous Bush administration that had signed it off.

Mr Trump is understood to be sending US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instead and while Downing Street has declined to comment, No 10 is aware the “working visit” had been postponed.

Theresa May's office also continues to insist that the offer of a state visit to Mr Trump, with the pomp, ceremony and meeting with the Queen that it entails, still stands.

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It was first made when the Prime Minister visited Washington last year and was pencilled in for later in 2017, but was pushed back as concern grew about protests, particularly at Buckingham Palace.

In the intervening period Mr Trump strained relations further with a series of controversial comments about the UK, including attacking Mr Khan's handling of terror strikes and falling out with Ms May after promoting propaganda from a British far-right group.

While Mr Khan and Mr Corbyn have both criticised the idea of Mr Trump coming to the UK, protests for when or if the President comes have been organised by independent groups.

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