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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Theresa May says US-UK special relationship still works well

American president’s visit to Britain is still going ahead, the prime minister claims in a television interview

Theresa May said that the special relationship between Britain and America was still working well. Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Theresa May said that the special relationship between Britain and America was still working well. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

British prime minister Theresa May maintained on Sunday that she has a good relationship with the American president, Donald Trump, telling a US news station that they “work very well together”.

“I do get on with him. President Trump has actually ... an affection for the United Kingdom. Like many Americans he has family connections with the United Kingdom, and we work very well together,” May told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview in London that aired on the programme This Week. “The UK and the US have always had a special relationship and worked well together.”

The prime minister did though express her annoyance at her counterpart’s tweets about last week’s attack on the London Underground. Mr Trump apparently took a dig at the British police when he suggested that they had known about the bomber who carried out the attack before it had happened.

“I don’t think it’s helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” Mrs May told Stephanopoulos. “The police and the security services are doing the work necessary to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack that’s taken place, and to identify all those who are responsible.”

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Mrs May’s positivity about the US president is not replicated across her compatriots. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 22 percent of Britons have confidence in Mr Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.

May said that her fellow countrymen and women “should look to what President Trump has done,” pointing to his support for Nato.

“I know a number of people were concerned before he became president about his statements about America’s commitment to NATO,” Mrs May said. “Nato has been the bedrock of Europe security. I was very pleased when I came over to see him, shortly after his inauguration, that he gave an absolute 100 percent commitment to NATO.”

Mrs May said that when she disagreed with Trump's positions, including his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, it actually demonstrated how robust the bond between the countries was.

“I think the point about the special relationship between the UK and the US is that when we do disagree we’re able to say so. And pretty bluntly. On the Paris issue that you talk about, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, I’ve made very clear I was dismayed when America decided to pull out of that. And I, as I’ve said to President Trump, I hope that they’ll be ... able to find a way for America to come back into the agreement.”

As the first foreign leader to meet Trump at the White House in January, Britain’s prime minister extended an invitation for Mr Trump to visit the UK. Stephanopoulos asked if that visit was still going to happen.

“Her Majesty the Queen issued the invitation,” May said. “The president has accepted it. It’s just a question of getting dates ... and sorting out the logistics.”