Donald Trump cancels February visit to UK

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Recent disagreements over US and UK policies are understood not to have played a part

Donald Trump has cancelled a visit to the UK planned for February, an official source has told the BBC.

The US president had been expected to open the new US embassy in London, but the ceremony may instead be hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mr Trump accepted the Queen’s invitation for a UK state visit when Theresa May met him last year, although no firm date for that has been agreed.

No 10, which previously said an invite had been accepted, declined to comment.

The BBC understands that Downing Street is considering options for a state visit later in the year, with plans for Mr Trump to have lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

But no firm date for a state visit had ever been agreed, nor had the White House “nailed down the details of the trip”, says BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale.

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, last month told the BBC he “absolutely” expected Mr Trump to visit Britain in the new year.

The latest development follows reports that Mr Trump wanted to delay a potential visit amid concerns about large-scale protests.

During the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament last summer, there was no mention of a visit – although a Downing Street spokesman said an invitation had been “extended and accepted”.

Mrs May was the first foreign leader to meet Mr Trump after his inauguration when she visited the Oval Office in January 2017.

Typically during state visits, the government, the visiting government and the royal household agree on a detailed schedule where the Queen acts as the official host.

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Media captionA little bit of America south of the river

According to BBC North America editor Jon Sopel, Mr Trump felt the new $1bn (£738m) embassy was a legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who was in office when the site in Wandsworth was secured in 2008.

Recent policy disagreements between the US and UK are not thought to have played a part in the decision – including Mr Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mrs May said she disagreed with that US decision, which she deemed “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”.

And in November, Mr Trump clashed with Mrs May after she said it was “wrong” for the US president to share videos posted by the far-right group Britain First.

Mrs May more recently discussed Brexit and events in the Middle East in a pre-Christmas phone call with Mr Trump.



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