Theresa May has congratulated Donald Trump on his shock US presidential election victory and insisted she will preserve the “enduring and special” relationship between the two countries.
The Prime Minister, who previously appeared to be critical of Mr Trump’s campaign, released an official statement that sought to build bridges with the new US leader for the sake of the “prosperity of our nations”.
Ms May said: “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign.
“Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise.
“We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence.”
It was a workmanlike tone from Ms May, after she previously hinted at her disapproval of Mr Trump’s campaign by saying elections should “be conducted in a calm and measured way with proper consideration of the issues”.
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, tweeted: “Congratulations to Donald Trump and much looking forward to working with his administration on global stability and prosperity.”
But behind the scenes many Conservatives were uncertain about what the future holds. They questioned the President elect’s knowledge of world affairs and raised major concerns over his potential foreign policy. One senior figure branded it “frighteningly shallow”.
One minister told The Independent: “The question is whether he has any understanding of the Middle East. Will he or will he not address the expansion of Israeli settlements for example. He probably knows nothing about it.
“He also thinks he can make policy on Russia through force of character. That will be put to the test.”
The minister believed Mr Trump would support NATO, despite the candidate suggesting he may withdraw US support for countries who do not meet the alliance treaty’s two per cent defence spending commitment.
The individual added: “He’ll begin to get all the briefings and he’ll have to eat a lot of his words.”
Chair of the influential Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Tory MP Crispin Blunt, said: “The task facing his transition team, given that half the Republican foreign policy and security establishment have outright opposed Donald Trump, means that challenge is very great.
“We have got a businessman turned president whose foreign policy knowledge and understanding is frighteningly shallow. We are going to have to see how much he learns in the next two months.”
A handful of Ms May’s MPs had offered some support for the winner’s campaign in recent weeks, but this morning others took to Twitter.
Tim Loughton MP tweeted: “Americans may just have elected a new Commander-in-Chief but looks like there is a vacancy for a new moral leader of the free world.”
Kingston and Surbiton Conservative MP James Berry said: “Unbelievable…I hope that President elect Trump means what he says about bringing the USA together after a shockingly divisive election.”
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