Theresa May has directly condemned US President Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan as “wrong”.
President Trump fired off a series of critical tweets over Mr Khan’s handling of the London Bridge terror attack, mocking the mayor’s comments that there was “no reason to be alarmed” over armed police on the streets.
Mr Khan has called for the US President’s planned state visit to the UK to be scrapped, but Mrs May said Mr Trump’s controversial trip would go ahead.
The row between Mr Trump and Mr Khan saw the US President dismiss criticism of his original post on the subject by redoubling his attack, accusing Mr Khan of making a “pathetic excuse”.
The Prime Minister told the Sun: “The relationship with America is our deepest and most important defence and security relationship.
“Having said that, I think Donald Trump is wrong in what he said about Sadiq Khan, in relation to the attack on London Bridge.
“We’ve been working with Sadiq Khan. When you’re working in the aftermath of an attack like that, party politics is put to one side.”
The mayor has been at meetings of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee and “we’ve been working with him to ensure the response was right, and to get London moving again”, the Prime Minister added.
Asked if Mr Trump’s official trip to Britain will go ahead, Mrs May said: “Yes”.
Mr Khan told the Press Association: “I’ve said for a long time that I think that the invitation from Prime Minister Theresa May to Donald Trump for a state visit was premature.
“State visits are given to world leaders who have had a distinguished service, who have a track record, and in the circumstances, where Donald Trump as president had a Muslim ban, had changed the policies of the USA, the long-standing policies around refugees, in the circumstances when many British people disagree with many of Donald Trump’s policies, we shouldn’t be having a state visit.
“Of course we should carry on talking to Donald Trump, the USA are close allies of ours. We have a special relationship and we should work closely with the Americans.
“But one of the things about a special relationship is it is like having a best friend. You stand shoulder to shoulder with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong and you tell them when they are wrong.
“I think on many, many things, Donald Trump is wrong.”
Asked about the spat with Mr Trump, Mr Khan told ITV1’s Good Morning Britain: “We’re not kids in a playground, he’s the president of the US. I’m too busy to respond to his tweets, isn’t he busy?”
He denied he was stoking up a feud which went back to 2016, when the mayor described the then presidential candidate’s calls for a ban on Muslim entry into the US as “ignorant”.
“It takes two to tango. I’m not tangoing with this guy, I’ve got better things to do,” said Mr Khan. “From Saturday until now my focus has been dealing with the aftermath of the horrific attack. Working with the police, security services, the Government; that’s why I’ve not responded to the tweets from Donald Trump.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said there is “no reason” to cancel Mr Trump’s state visit.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The invitation has been issued and accepted and I see no reason to change that, but as far as what Sadiq Khan has said, about the reassurances that he has offered the people of London, I think he was right to speak in that way.”