Boris Johnson and Theresa May have clashed over Donald Trump’s cancelled UK visit in a row over the real reason he called off the trip.
Mr Trump claimed he pulled out of the visit because he disagreed with the decision to sell off the old building for ‘peanuts’. But observers suggested he did not want to run the gauntlet of protests.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was among those on the left who commented saying it was clear that Mr Trump had ‘got the message that many Londoners’ did not want him here.
It led to the Foreign Secretary suggesting that Mr Khan had scuppered the visit, branding him a ‘puffed up, pompous popinjay’.
Theresa May, pictured left, and Boris Johnson, pictured right, have clashed over the real reason that Donald Trump cancelled his visit to London
Mr Trump (pictured) claimed he pulled out of the visit because he disagreed with the decision to sell off the old US embassy for ‘peanuts’. But observers suggested he did not want to run the gauntlet of protests
But minutes before, a 10 Downing Street spokesman had insisted that Theresa May did not blame the London Mayor for the cancellation.
Mr Johnson tweeted at about 11am: ‘The US is the biggest single investor in the UK — yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk.
‘We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall.’
Then in a sharp contradiction to Mr Johnson’s suggestions, a spokesman for Number 10 said the ‘special relationship’ had not been damaged by the Mayor’s tweets.
He told The Times: ‘No, the US and the UK are natural, resilient, strong partners and allies, and we do more together than any two countries in the world.’
Mr Khan had earlier said in a statement: ‘It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans, but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance.
‘His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests.
‘This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.’
The Foreign Secretary suggested that Mr Khan had scuppered the visit, branding him a ‘puffed up, pompous popinjay’
The row over the visit, which sparked headlines around the world, threatens a new crisis in Britain’s relations with the Trump administration.
There is now no date for a visit by the President, who has been in office for a year.
One senior source suggested Mr Trump cancelled because he was unhappy about the arrangements and the scale of the visit.
But Mr Trump tweeted that he thought the US embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in London’s prestigious Mayfair district to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a ‘bad deal’.
He said: ‘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 $1.2billion. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon – NO!’
Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 – when his fellow Republican George W Bush was in the White House.
Mr Trump tweeted overnight that he was ‘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 $1.2billion’
The reversal comes despite Mr Trump telling Theresa May last month that he would come to Britain in the New Year.
Preparations were advanced for a ‘working’ visit to officially open the embassy, but the Mail understands this role will now be performed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Mr Trump was also scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week.
The President was not due to meet the Queen until a full state visit at a later date, and a second source said the lack of ‘bells and whistles’ and royal involvement next month visit may have discouraged him.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of the US President, suggested that concerns about protests may have been the real reason for the visit’s cancellation.
‘It’s disappointing – he has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest,’ Mr Farage said.
Officials have already moved into the £750million US embassy near Battersea Power Station in South London. The new building will open for business on January 16
The former US Embassy on Grosvenor Square in London’s Mayfair, which Mr Trump has described as ‘perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London’
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of supporting protests.
‘Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.’
Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was ‘very welcome he is not coming any more’, adding: ‘He runs counter to British values.’
It has also now emerged that Donald Trump faces the embarrassment of not being invited to the royal wedding this year.
The US President is notoriously sensitive to snubs and might have expected to be asked to attend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day in May.
But a Royal Household source pointedly said: ‘Although the guest list hasn’t yet been announced, there is no reason he would be invited.’
The potential snub is a second setback to Mr Trump following the cancellation of a planned visit to Britain next month.
Saudi Arabia, Israel and many more: Countries Mr Trump HAS visited
The President was welcomed with a bouquet of flowers at King Khalid International Airport in the capital Riyadh. As he arrived, he was flanked by horsemen carrying Saudi and American flags. He even held King Salman’s hand as he was welcomed by the Saudi Royal Court.
Mr and Mrs Trump, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (second left) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (left) touch an illuminated globe at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 21 last year
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara welcomed the President and First Lady Melania to their ‘palace’. Mr Netanyahu said they had the house painted especially for the visit, and he gave the Trumps a 150-year-old bottle of wine as a gift.
Mr Trump (left) and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) arrive to deliver a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23 last year
Mr Trump’s 24-hour visit was topped off with a military parade on Bastille Day. Mr Trump, who was guest of honour at the celebrations, enthusiastically applauded the soldiers and tanks on the Champs Elysees. He later shared a 29-second handshake with French president Emmanuel Macron.
French President Emmanuel Macron (second left), his wife Brigitte Macron (left), Mr and Mrs Trump pose ahead of a dinner at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on July 13 last year
Mr Macron and Mr Trump at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on July 13 last year
An enthusiastic reception as people were bussed in to Warsaw and chanted ‘Donald Trump’ throughout his speech.
Mr and Mrs Trump stand with Polish President Andrzej Duda (second right) and Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda (right) before a speech in Warsaw on July 6 last year
The reception was not as warm, with protesters lining the streets as the President attended the G20 summit.
Mr Trump shakes hands with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 last year
Mr Trump was welcomed with an elaborate palace ceremony and a round of golf with one of the country’s champion players.
Mr Trump (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) walk together ahead of their working lunch at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on November 6 last year
President Moon Jae-in repeatedly invoked Mr Trump’s campaign slogan by saying he was ‘making America great again’.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In (right) shakes hands with Mr Trump (left) at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on November 7 last year
President Xi Jinping personally showed Mr Trump around the Imperial Palace.
China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Mr Trump review Chinese honour guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9 last year