London Mayor Sadiq Khan has hit back at Donald Trump, after the US president accused him of suggesting that people should not be “alarmed” by terror attacks on the capital.
In a series of tweets the morning after the London Bridge atrocity, Mr Trump said it was time to “stop being politically correct”, adding: “At least seven dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
But a spokesman for Mr Khan branded the comment “ill-informed” and said the president had deliberately taken out of context remarks made by the mayor to reassure people about the increased police presence in the wake of the attack.
Speaking on the BBC, Mr Khan made clear that he was advising Londoners and visitors not to be concerned by the presence of additional armed police officers on the streets of the capital in the days to come, and not playing down anxieties about the attack itself.
“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today,” Mr Khan said.
“You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this.”
In response, Mr Trump tweeted: “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”
He then tweeted a few minutes later: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
And he took an opportunity to defend his own resistance to gun control in the US, saying: “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!”
A spokesman for Mr Khan later said: “The mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services and the Government to co-ordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city.
“He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police - including armed officers - on the streets.”
Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s son Donald Jr tweeted a link to an article from last year in which Mr Khan said that being prepared for terror attacks was “part and parcel” of living in a big city, with the comment: “You have to be kidding me!?”
Mr Trump had earlier tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!” And the US State Department said America was ready to provide assistance to UK authorities.
He joined Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin in offering Britain their condolences.