The Queen has been labelled “well capable” of taking Donald Trump in her stride amid reports the American president wants to visit Britain to “Trumpalise” the monarch.
Boris Johnson said the Queen had seen US leaders come and “seen them go” after the Foreign Secretary was urged to cancel the “wretched” state visit.
During Foreign Office questions in the Commons, shadow foreign minister Liz McInnes said: “President Trump’s biographer, Michael Wolff, has said that the president’s only interest in a state visit is the opportunity to and I quote ‘Trumpalise the Queen’.
“’Trumpalise the Queen’ - I have literally no idea what that means.
“But can I ask the minister to please save Her Majesty from that unpleasant-sounding ordeal and cancel this wretched visit?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I think Her Majesty the Queen is well capable of taking this American president or indeed any American president in her stride, as she has done over six remarkable decades.
“She has seen them come and she has seen them go.
“And may I say, if she seeks advice on whether or not to invite the President of the United States to visit this country – of course she’ll know we are very, very close allies – might I invite her to ask the person next door to her who said only last year ‘I think we have to welcome the American president to Britain, we have to work with him’. Those are the words, quite rightly, of (shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry).”
Later, raising a point of order, Ms Thornberry said she had “never thought that it was a good idea to invite the President of the United States to the United Kingdom”.
“In fact, I thought that the invitation was issued with undue haste, but once it had been issued on behalf of Her Majesty it’s very difficult to withdraw it,” she said.
Mr Johnson returned to the despatch box and said: “I must redirect (Ms Thornberry) and indeed the House to her words of 14th May 2017 on the Andrew Marr programme in which she said ‘I think we have to welcome the American president to Britain, we have to work with him’. I rest my case.”
Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “I think honour is served. The shadow foreign secretary has offered us her thoughts and the Foreign Secretary, with some alacrity, has beetled back to the box in order to respond and I think we should, at least for today, leave it there.”