POLITICS

President Obama To Meet Queen During UK Visit Ahead Of EU Referendum

It's the Queen's birthday that week. Happy Birthday!

16/03/2016 14:58 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Obama will visit the United Kingdom at the end of April it has been confirmed. 

He is expected to use a joint press conference with David Cameron to encourage the British people to vote to remain inside the European Union.

The visit was confirmed by the White House on Wednesday afternoon. Obama will begin his foreign tour, which will take in Saudi Arabia and Germany, on April 21 - the Queen's 90th birthday.

While in the UK, Obama will attend a private lunch with the Queen at Windsor Palace.

In a statement, the White House said the president will "offer his gratitude to the British Government and people for their stalwart partnership with his administration and the American people throughout his presidency".

Obama's expected intervention in the EU referendum campaign has angered those campaigning in favour of Brexit.

London mayor Boris Johnson accused the president of "outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy" for advising the UK to remain inside the EU when the US would never accept a similar arrangement with other countries.

Downing Street has defended the right of foreign leaders to voice their opinion.

And last week Obama's spokesman said the president would "continue to make clear" that the United States wanted to see the UK vote to 'Remain' at the June 23 referendum.

The press conference with Cameron could also be awkward for Obama after the president criticised the prime minister's approach to military action in Libya. In an interview with The Atlantic magazine, he said Cameron had become "distracted".

The US administration moved quickly to try and repair the damage, insisting the Anglo-American alliance was valued "deeply".

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told a campaign rally recently that Obama "will make it more likely that England will pull out of the EU" if he intervened again.

Conservatives who have defied Cameron and are campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the EU at the June 23 referendum have also said Obama should keep his opinion to himself.

Cabinet minister Chris Grayling told MPs last week he wanted to "discourage any foreign leader from entering the debate at the moment".

And Tory MP Peter Bone said the president of the "former colonies" should not "come over here and tell us how to vote in the EU referendum".

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