Donald Trump claims he cancelled UK visit in protest at Obama administration selling US embassy for 'peanuts'

President says he is shelving plans as reports suggest he feared mass protests in London

Donald Trump calls off UK visit to open new US embassy

US President Donald Trump has confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy.

Trump was reportedly concerned about the welcome he would receive in the UK. The President is understood to be sending US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instead.

But writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy's move from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms, south London, was a “bad deal”.

He wrote: “Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ”peanuts,“ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars.

“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

The United States announced plans to move from its current embassy building in Mayfair in 2008 and the new building will open on 16 January.

On the embassy web page about the project, it said: “The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.”

Mr Trump's decision not to come to the country comes despite Prime Minister Theresa May saying that a future visit was still on the cards last week.

Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year.

Since then, however, the President has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations.

Last month, the White House said it would announce details “soon” of Mr Trump's proposed visit to the UK.

Mrs May and Mr Trump fell out spectacularly in November over his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted online by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group, Jayda Fransen.

At the time, the PM said Mr Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos, and the US president hit back at Mrs May on Twitter by telling her to focus on “destructive radical Islamic terrorism” in the UK, rather than on him.

PA

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