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25 February 2024

Trump to make UK state visit in June


US President Donald Trump is to make a state visit to Britain June 3-5, just ahead of D-Day commemorations in France, officials said Tuesday, as campaigners announced large-scale protests against him.

Trump is a strong supporter of Brexit but has been highly critical of the way Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to implement the result of a 2016 referendum.

Trump and First Lady Melania will be guests of 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, becoming only the third US presidential couple during her reign to receive the honour after George W. Bush in 2003 and Barack Obama in 2011.

Trump will also hold talks with May during the trip, with the issue of post-Brexit trade ties looming large.

"We do more together than any two nations in the world and we are both safer and more prosperous because of our cooperation," May said in a statement on the visit.

She said it would be "an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead."

The pomp associated with state visits will prove particularly controversial in Britain, where House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has already said he does not want the US president to address parliament.

May invited Trump for a state visit in January 2017 when she went to Washington just days after he took office in what was widely seen as an attempt to curry favour as Britain negotiates its break-up with the EU.

An online petition to cancel Trump's state visit reached 1.9 million signatures in 2017 and the trip has been delayed several times since then.