JK Rowling has joined Ed Miliband and senior Tories in warning Theresa May that “history” will judge her links to Donald Trump.
The Harry Potter author tweeted her concern as the new US President declared that torture of terror suspects “absolutely works”.
Trump’s remarks sparked outrage and triggered a backlash against May’s own vow to work with him so the UK and US could “lead together again” on the global stage.
The Prime Minister flew out to America on Thursday for a two-day trip that will see her become the first world leader to visit the White House since the billionaire tycoon’s inauguration.
But although May and Downing Street insist that the UK does not condone torture, critics seized on Trump’s latest backing for ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques for detainees.
Rowling was swift to react on Twitter with a message to her 9 million followers.
Former Labour leader Miliband was also scathing in his verdict after May praised the US President’s “renewal” of the United States.
And Tory MP Sarah Wollaston was vitriolic about the PM’s warm words, contrasting them to Trump’s record.
Other leading politicians have also attacked the prime minister this morning as she was told not to “grovel” to Trump.
Trump’s words on torture, in an interview with ABC News, came just two hours after Downing Street released extracts of May’s speech to the Congressional ‘Republican Retreat’ conference in Philadelphia.
He said he was considering reopening the CIA’s so-called “black site” prisons, secret facilities around the world that were used to detain suspects in George W Bush’s “war on terror” before they were formally shut down by Barack Obama.
On the Presidential election campaign trail, Trump had supported “waterboarding”, a technique to simulate drowning that has been used by the US on terror suspects.
In his first major interview since becoming President, Trump cited so-called Islamic State’s atrocities against Christians and said “we have to fight fire with fire”.
“When they’re shooting, when they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?” he said.
“I have spoken with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question ‘Does it work? Does torture work?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, absolutely’.
In Philadelphia, the Prime Minister will vow to reforge the “special relationship” between the two countries and will underline historic links as well as future opportunities for cooperation on trade and security.
While accepting Trump’s pledge to put “America First”, she will on Thursday urge him not to abandon the international stage, underlining the US and Britain’s global “responsibilities” and her hope that they can “lead, together, again”.
“As we rediscover our confidence together – as you renew your nation just as we renew ours – we have the opportunity – indeed the responsibility – to renew the Special Relationship for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead, together, again,” May will say.
May has scored a coup in securing an invitation to the Trump White House before any other leader and aides say they it is an “exciting” chance for Britain to build fresh links in the run up to Brexit.