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Trump UK visit – live: Mass protests to be held across Britain as president prepares to meet Queen

Trump UK visit – live: Mass protests to be held across Britain as president prepares to meet Queen

Donald Trump insisted the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States is “the highest level of special” as he addressed reporters alongside prime minister Theresa May at Chequers.

The president described Brexit as an “incredible opportunity” and said whatever Britain does after leaving the European Union was “OK with me” – hours after telling The Sun newspaper that Ms May’s plan may “kill” any trade deal between the UK and the US.

Responding to questions about the interview, Mr Trump described the report as “fake news,” while Ms May added the pair had discussed plans for an “ambitious” trade agreement.

Despite the humiliating interview, in which Mr Trump said the prime minister “didn’t listen” to his advice on Brexit, Ms May praised the American leader for “making tough calls and saying things that others would rather not say”.

“From the outset, President Trump has been clear about how he sees the challenges we face and on many we agree,” she added.

The second day of the American leader’s visit to the UK was marked by mass protests across Britain, with a huge blimp depicting him as a baby wearing a nappy flown by demonstrators in London.

The six-metre inflatable caricature took to the skies in Westminster as tens of thousands of demonstrators prepare to march through London’s streets.

Protests were also planned to take place outside Chequers and in Scotland, where the president leader will arrive on Friday evening after having tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Mr Trump was heavily critical of the proposed EU deal thrashed out by Ms May her cabinet, warning it would “probably kill” any future UK-US trade agreement.

The US leader said he would have done the negotiations “much differently” and claimed the prime minister had not listened to his advice.

Mr Trump’s comments were condemned by a number of MPs, including the universities minister Sam Gyimah, who tweeted: “Where are your manners, Mr President?”

Live Updates


The Independent‘s Angela Christofilou has been snapping pictures of the protests in London: 

While Theresa May and Donald Trump’s press conference was taking place, protests against the president have been hitting their stride in London.

Our correspondent Maya Oppenheim sends this:

The US president’s face could be glimpsed in hues of tango orange in every corner of the street as demonstrators gathered for the women’s march.

With not a cloud in sight, women of all ages marched stridently away from Portland Place at 12.30pm.

Following the same route as the main protest, they are making their way down Regents Street and Haymarket before finishing in Trafalgar Square for the rally.

As the sun beats down, protesters march away from Portland Place.

Oompa-loompa coloured cardboard cutouts of the US president float above the crowds and protesters brandish placards referencing everything from Mr Trump’s infamous ‘pussy-grabbing’ remarks to his apparent adoration of Boris Johnson.

 

A spokesman for The Sun has declined to comment after Mr Trump’s described its interview with him as “fake news”.

The president claimed Tom Newton-Dunn’s write-up omitted his praise for Theresa May.

Some positive comments made by Mr Trump about the prime minister did appear on page two of the paper, including his insistence that he still thinks she is “a very good person”.

He is also quoted as saying: “I think she is a nice person. I get along with her very nicely.”

 

And with that, this remarkable press conference has come to an end.

Donald Trump says Theresa May was not angry that he attacked her Brexit plan in The Sun. He says he told her: “Don’t worry, it’s only the press.”

After the newspaper’s political editor, Tom Newton-Dunn, who wrote the story, is in the audience, he asks him why the story did not include his praise for May.

After Newton-Dunn says it did, Trump responds that he’d prefer the praise to have been in the headline.

 

 

Trump repeats an anecdote about how he supposedly predicted the result of the Brexit referendum while opening his Turnberry hotel and golf club the day before the vote. This cannot be true, as he in fact opened Turnberry the day after the referendum. 

May is asked whether she agrees with Trump’s statement that the Chequers Brexit proposal was not “what people voted for” and if she agrees that Boris Johnson would make a great prime minister.

May says her plan is what people people voted for because the UK is leaving the EU.

She says there will be an end to spending billions on the EU and the UK will regain control of its borders.

May does not answer the question about her former foreign secretary, as Trump interrupts to restate his opinion that Boris Johnson would “make a great prime minister”.

But he adds he also told The Sun that “this terrific woman” was doing a great job.

Theresa May is asked if she agrees with Donald Trump’s remarks, made in an interview with The Sun, that  immigration has “change the fabric of Europe”.

May says the UK is proud of welcoming people who contribute to society, but that control of borders is important.

Trump, asked to expand on his comments, says immigration has been “very bad for Europe”. 

He adds: “You are changing culture, you are changing security… It’s a very sad situation, it’s very unfortunate. I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it, and I’ll say it loud.”

Asked about his warning that Theresa May’s Brexit plan would “kill” a US-UK trade deal, Trump insists he did not criticise the prime minister.

He describes The Sun story in which his comments were made as “fake news” because they did not include his positive comments about the prime minister.

Ms May is doing a “great job”, he adds.

Trump says he and May discussed a range of issues including nuclear proliferation, North Korea, Iran, terrorism and border security.

He praises the UK military display at Sandhurst and says US-UK military co-operation is vital.

Addressing the issue of Brexit, he says: “I don’t know what they’re going to but whatever they do is OK with me.”

He adds he looks forward to reaching a trade agreement with the UK.

Theresa May is speaking first, and says the military display she watched with Trump this morning symbolised the US-UK partnership.

She welcomed US support against Russia following the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

The two leaders agreed to pursue an “ambitious” UK-US trade deal after Brexit, she adds.

She praises Trump, saying: “Doing this means making tough calls and saying things that others would rather not say. From the outset, President Trump has been clear about how he sees the challenges we face and on many we agree.”

Those pointed final words – “on many we agree”, meaning on others disagree – are perhaps the closest she comes to placing distance between herself and the president.

 

Donald Trump and Theresa May have emerged for the press conference, holding hands as they walked down the steps to the podium.

We are expecting Donald Trump and Theresa May to appear at a joint press conference in the Chequers garden in a few minutes. 

The Independent‘s Maya Oppenheim has been speaking to protesters at the Women’s March.

Kirsty Bows, 29, told her: “I want to let Trump know he is not popular in Britain. The massive protests today are undeniable. He can’t dismiss them as fake news.”

“I decided to go to the women’s march because Trump is anti-choice in terms of abortion, he is anti-LGBT. There need to be more women in government, there need to be more women everywhere, and he is anti that. I’m a feminist and that is not going to fly with me.

“I am also here because I have 4 sisters and 4 nieces. I want to let my little nieces know they can be anything they want in spite of their gender.”

Amy Russell, 22, her colleague, added: “You are giving me goosebumps. I’m here because Trump is a horrible human being and I don’t like the way things are going under him”.

 

Thousands of protesters are filling the streets of central London for anti-Trump protests this afternoon. There are two major marches taking place – the Women’s March and the Together Against Trump march. 

 

The Women’s March set off from Portland Place, near to the US embassy, at 12.30pm and is progressing towards Parliament Square.

 

The Together Against Trump march, organised by the Stop Trump coalition, will also begin at Portland Place, at 2pm, and will culminate in a rally at Trafalgar Square at 5pm.

Donald Trump’s  trip to the UK is not officially be a state visit, but it has many of the hallmarks of one.

A lavish banquet, military pomp and ceremony, tea with the Queen, and political meetings form part of the American leader’s busy two-day itinerary. All are familiar elements of a state visit.

The imposing grounds of Blenheim Palace, where Mr Trump and wife Melania were welcomed by Theresa May yesterday, are arguably a more dramatic setting than Whitehall’s Horse Guards Parade, where heads of state are normally officially greeted by the Queen.

The military display the US leader was treated went beyond the usual inspection of a guard of honour, with Mr Trump greeted with a specially composed fanfare performed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry Band.

But the main difference between the visit and a state visit is the Queen is not hosting the trip – neither accommodating Mr Trump and his wife at Buckingham Palace, nor staging a lunch for the couple or holding a state banquet in their honour.

No other members of the royal family will call in to Windsor Castle to meet the controversial billionaire-turned-statesman when he sits down to tea with the monarch.

Robert Shrimsley, political commentator at the Financial Times, suggests Donald Trump’s criticism of a soft Brexit reflect his desire to weaken the EU as a whole:

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