Trump UK visit: Boris Johnson rages at Corbyn and Khan for 'endangering US investment in Britain'

Foreign Secretary lashes out over cancellation of London trip by President, who is facing widespread international condemnation over 'racist' comments

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 12 January 2018 12:36
Donald Trump calls off UK visit to open new US embassy

Boris Johnson has launched an attack on Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, accusing them of endangering the UK-US relationship after the President cancelled a scheduled visit to Britain.

Echoing comments similar to that of the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the Foreign Secretary said he would not allow the so-called special relationship to be “endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall”.

“The US is the biggest single investor in the UK – yet Khan and Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk,” Mr Johnson added on Twitter.

But Downing Street was more reserved in its response to the cancellation of Mr Trump’s planned visit to Britain next month to open his country’s new embassy in London.

“The US is one of our oldest and most valued allies and our strong and deep relationship will endure,” a spokesperson said, reiterating the line that the invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted with details confirmed in “due course”.

It was also unclear this morning as to whether Downing Street was aware that Mr Trump was about to cancel the visit to open the embassy, with Theresa May’s spokesman limiting himself to saying that no date had ever been confirmed.

He said: “The opening of the US embassy is a matter for the US.“

Later, a Number 10 source confirmed that Mr Johnson had been speaking for the Government, telling The Independent: “Boris expresses himself in his own inimitable way – but we agree that any risk to the crucial US-UK relationship is not in our country’s best interest.”

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

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme after the US President confirmed a report in the Daily Mail that his planned visit at the end of February had been cancelled, Mr Farage aired similar views to the Foreign Secretary.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “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.”

But Mr Johnson’s comments also come amid almost universal international condemnation of Mr Trump’s “racist” comments. On Friday it emerged that the US President had reportedly referred to Haiti and African countries as “s***hole countries” during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office.

After ideas for restoration projects to help immigrants in Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries were floated as a potential part of a bipartisan immigration deal, the President grew frustrated.

“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Mr Trump asked, two people briefed on the meeting told the Washington Post.

Responding to the incendiary comments, the UN spokesperson said: “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States.”

“There is no other word you can use but ‘racist’,” he added.

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