Boris Johnson has branded Sadiq Khan a “puffed up pompous popinjay” after the London Mayor welcomed Donald Trump cancelling a trip to the UK capital.
The Foreign Secretary took to Twitter to launch the astonishing attack on his City Hall predecessor, just hours after Khan said Trump had “got the message” from that he isn’t welcome in London.
The US President announced overnight he had cancelled his London trip to officially open the new US Embassy, which has moved from Mayfair to south London.
Trump claimed it was because the move was a “bad deal”, but Johnson suggested the US President had been scared off by Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The tweet came as journalists were receiving a briefing from Downing Street, but the spokesman was unable to say if the Foreign Secretary was speaking on behalf of the Government or in an independent capacity.
Number 10 later clarified the Foreign Secretary was speaking in a political capacity.
When asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that Khan was damaging the ‘special relationship’, the Downing Street spokesman replied: “No, the US and the UK are natural, resilient and strong partners and allies and we do more together than any two countries in the world.
When asked if May would tell Trump he is welcome in London, the spokesman said: “Yes”.
Speaking to the Evening Standard today, Khan said that “without doubt” Trump’s visit would have been met by huge protests.
He added: “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 rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”
The new embassy building will begin to be used by US diplomats from January 16, but a Downing Street spokesman said today that no date had been set for Trump’s visit to cut the ribbon.
The spokesman added: “The opening of the US Embassy is a matter for the US but the US is one of our oldest and most valued allies and our strong and deep partnership will endure.”
While Trump has cancelled his embassy trip, he has still been invited to a state visit to the UK - although no date has yet been set.