Here’s What’s Happening
- President Donald Trump has landed at Stansted airport ahead of his controversial working visit.
- He dined with the prime minister and senior government ministers, and is due to meet the Queen tomorrow.
- Extra police are being drafted in as mass demonstrations are planned across the country.
- Upon arrival, Trump sharply criticized Theresa May in an interview with a British tabloid, warning her Brexit plan could “kill” any future trade deal with the US, touting her rival Boris Johnson as a potentially “great prime minister,” and claiming Europe is “losing its culture” because of migrants.
- Trump’s visit comes after a deeply contentious NATO summit where he accused Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia” and delivered an ultimatum to the other leaders.
Trump blasted UK Prime Minister Theresa May in an interview during his first official visit
Hours after arriving on his first visit to the UK as president, Donald Trump was quoted sharply criticizing prime minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, saying it could imperil any future trade deal with the US.
Trump reportedly made the comments — which are unprecedented for a visiting US head of state — during an interview with the British newspaper the Sun, in which he also praised one of May’s rivals, said the mayor of London has done a “terrible job,” and suggested Europe was “losing” its culture due to an influx of migrants.
Trump’s comments went public just hours after prime minister urged the US president at a Blenheim Palace dinner to enter into a deal with the UK following Brexit.
But Trump told the Sun that May had been soft on the UK’s exit from the European Union, adding that “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”
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—Jim Dalrymple II
May urged Trump to enter into a significant trade deal after Brexit.
Theresa May used her speech at the Blenheim Palace dinner to try and persuade Donald Trump to consider an ambitious trade deal with the UK after Brexit.
Speaking to the president in front of about 100 business leaders, she pointed out that Britain was the largest investor in the US, providing nearly a fifth of all foreign investment in the country.
“Altogether, from Maine to Alaska, more than a million Americans work for British companies,” she said.
“Now, as we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more.
“It’s an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the UK and right across the United States.
“It’s also an opportunity to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside Blenheim Palace to coincide with Trump’s attendance at a black-tie dinner with prime minister Theresa May.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have arrived at Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, but they have been joined at the event by hundreds of demonstrators who gathered outside in protest against Trump’s policies.
Inside Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Trump was welcomed with a military ceremony before having dinner with leaders of companies, such as Diageo and Maclaren, and senior government ministers including the newly instated foreign secretary.
The menu is said to include a Scottish salmon starter, followed by English beef fillet and vegetables, with strawberries and clotted cream ice cream.
– Elizabeth Pears
Donald Trump follows a century-long line of US presidents meeting with the queen and British leaders.
Look at 100 years of US presidents visiting Britain in pictures here.
Scottish police have refused to give permission to fly the giant Trump balloon when he visits this weekend.
The balloon, which depicts the US president as a giant orange baby, is due to fly in London on Friday when Trump is due to meet prime minister Theresa May for bilateral talks on Russia, trade, Brexit, and Middle East.
But when Trump continues on to Scotland on Saturday, the baby will not take flight.
Despite having the support of more than 10,000 people, protesters request for permission to fly the balloon in Turnberry, where Trump has a hotel and golf course, was denied.
Police Scotland assistant chief constable Mark Williams cited safety concerns as the reason for the refusal.
“Clearly there is a significant protection operation in place for the president and this includes restrictions to the airspace in the Turnberry area,” Williams said.
“We need to ensure there is a balance between protection and public safety and the public’s right to peacefully protest.
“With that in mind, and on this occasion, we are unable to grant permission for the balloon to fly in that area however, we are in discussion with the applicants about possible alternatives.”
The balloon will fly near to the houses of parliament in London for two hours on Friday morning. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who Trump has publicly attacked on Twitter, said he “supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms”.
But Khan’s decision to allow this particular protest has been met with some criticism, with some calling it “embarrassing” and “cringeworthy”.
– Laura Silver
Downing Street has dismissed Donald Trump’s claim that the Brexit plan was not what people voted for.
During an impromptu press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday morning, held shortly before he departed for a four-day visit to the UK, Trump appeared to criticise Brexit plans agreed by the government at the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers, last week.
The proposal, details of which were published today, has proved controversial, and led to the dramatic resignation of Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson who said May’s vision for the UK after its departure from the European Union too closely resembled the current set-up.
“I would say Brexit is Brexit,” Trump told journalists at Thursday’s press conference.
“The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for.”
But later on Thursday, a Downing Street spokesperson dismissed the remarks.
“The plan we set out at Checkers is absolutely what people voted for – taking back control of our laws, borders and money and with the freedom to strike our own trade deals round the world, including the US,” the spokesperson said.
The proposal appears to avoid the “hard Brexit” that many who are more inclined to stay in the EU hoped to avoid and aims for a co-operative trade policy that would not require a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
– Laura Silver
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Donald Trump was very welcome in Britain – and hit out at London mayor Sadiq Khan for allowing the baby blimp to be flown in London.
Addressing conservative think tank the Bow Group in parliament, Farage, who has long trumpeted his close links to Trump, said: “Whether you agree with his policies or not, the fact is that the relationship between Britain and America matters, and that’s why this visit matters enormously.”
He accused PM Theresa May of being too “politically correct”, adding: “This should be a great opportunity, but we waited far too long to invite him; I mean, [French president] Macron made him guest of honour at Bastille Day – we’ve been very hands off about this invitation.
“And frankly, this prime minister has at every conceivable opportunity followed the politically correct pack in criticising Trump and his actions, so the special relationship is not in a very good place right here and now.”
On the London mayor, he said: “Sadiq Khan is pursuing this vendetta against this president and the Republican administration, and he’s quite prepared to put his own personal preference – or should we say prejudice – above what is clearly in the national interest and the interests of London as well.
“I can’t imagine that any other capital city would have allowed this blimp to fly outside their parliament – it really is very childish, very silly.”
— Emily Ashton
US President Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for a four-day trip that will include meeting the Queen and prime minister Theresa May.
Trump landed at Stansted Airport just outside London just before 2pm on Thursday with his wife, Melania, and was greeted by international trade secretary Liam Fox.
Trade between the UK and US post-Brexit will be the government’s key focus in talks with Trump during the visit.
On Thursday evening the Trumps will travel to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, for a dinner hosted by prime minister Theresa May. Fox, along with new foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, chancellor Philip Hammond, defence secretary Gavin Williamson, and transport secretary Chris Grayling, will attend the dinner on behalf of the government.
Representatives of leaders in British business, including Diageo and Maclaren, are also expected to attend.
Speaking in Brussels earlier on Thursday, Trump said he looked forward to a warm welcome from the people of the UK, who he said he believed were fond of him. But he has already made life difficult for Theresa May by suggesting that her highly contentious Brexit plan was “not what people voted for”.
While tonight’s formal dinner will begin with a military welcome ceremony, many members of the public are preparing to protest.
Demonstrations are due to take place over the next couple of days in London, Oxfordshire, and near the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers, in Berkshire, where May is due to meet with Trump on Friday.
Later on Friday, the Trumps will travel to Windsor for tea with the Queen. Protests are also expected there.