White House sources have denied claims that Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK has been put ‘on hold’ amid fears of mass street protests.
The US President had been due to come to Britain at some point in the year following an invitation agreed by the Prime Minister in January.
But Trump has reportedly told May that he will not make the trip as long as there is the threat of large-scale demonstrations that could disrupt it.
The Guardian reports that the President informed the PM personally of his decision in recent weeks, citing a Downing Street adviser who was in the room during a phone call. The statement surprised May, according to those present.
Jeremy Corbyn was quick to react to the claims.
However, White House spokesman Raj Shah told the Washington Post that the claims were untrue.
“The president has tremendous respect for Prime Minister May,’ he said. ‘That subject never came up on the call.”
May sparked severe criticism earlier this year when she announced that Trump had been invited to visit the UK, a major event with full state honours and a trip to see Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The PM unveiled the visit as she became the first foreign leader to meet the US President at the White House after his inauguration.
Yet the very idea of a Trump visit triggered a backlash, with the Speaker of the House of Commons making clear he would not agree to allow Parliament to be used as a forum for the President.
The timing of the state visit was then fudged, with plans to stage to delay it from the summer to October, when Parliament was on a conference recess.
The snap general election threw the process into further doubt and Trump will be even more uncertain about a trip given the instability of May’s prospective minority government.
Some Tories would be relieved if the visit is delayed, given it was bound to underline her links to the President, which are unpopular with voters in all parties.
A No 10 spokesperson refused to deny or confirm the alleged request for a delay from Trump.
“We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations,” they told HuffPost UK.
“The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans.”
May was embarrassed in January when Trump unveiled his plan to ban travel from key Muslim-majority countries, just hours after she left Washington.
Since then she has also been attacked for failing to sign a joint letter of condemnation by European G7 nations after the President pulled out of the Paris climate accord.
The PM further infuriated voters when she failed to robustly condemn Trump after he made an extraordinary and unfounded attack on London Mayor Sadik Khan just hours after the London Bridge attack this month.
The President misquoted part of the mayor’s message to Londoners, telling them not to be alarmed by the increased police presence on the streets of the capital.
Khan’s office pointed out Trump’s error later but the President responded by accusing London’s mayor of making a “pathetic excuse”. Khan then called on the UK government to cancel Trump’s invitation.
No date had been fixed for the visit.
Some protestors plan to moon the president en masse, as part of a campaign called ‘Show your rump to Trump’.