Donald Trump has reportedly told Theresa May he does not want to go ahead with his controversial state visit to the UK if it is going to lead to large-scale demonstrations.
The US president had said he wanted to be sure he had the support of the British public before coming to the country, according to a newspaper report.
His comments – effectively putting the visit on hold – were said to have been made in a telephone call made in “recent weeks”. The newspaper quoted a No 10 adviser “who was in the room” at the time as saying that Mrs May had been “surprised” by his remarks.
Downing Street refused to comment, saying only that the invitation which was given by Mrs May on behalf of the Queen when she met Mr Trump in Washington just seven days after his inauguration, remained unchanged.
A spokesman said: “We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations. The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans.”
The decision to accord such a controversial president the honour of a state visit so soon after taking office was widely criticised at the time.
There was further criticism after Mr Trump attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan over his response to the latest terror attacks on the capital.
When Mr Khan’s office said he had simply been saying people should not be alarmed by the additional police presence on the streets, Mr Trump accused him of making “pathetic excuses” prompting the mayor to call for the visit to be dropped.
However Downing Street yesterday said there had been “no change” to plans for a state visit by the US president.
A senior official in the White House told the BBC that “the president has tremendous respect for Prime Minister May” and that the subject of the state visit “never came up on the call”.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Mr Trump was “clearly terrified of the British public”.
He added: “He knows that the British people find his politics appalling and that they won’t be scared to make their views known. Theresa May should be embarrassed that she was so quick to offer Trump a state visit. Now neither of them want to be seen with the other.”