UK Politics

Theresa May: Donald Trump wrong to criticise Sadiq Khan

Trump and Khan Image copyright PA
Image caption This is not the first time Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan have argued in public

Theresa May has said Donald Trump's criticism of Sadiq Khan in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack was "wrong".

But the PM said the US president's state visit would still go ahead.

Mr Khan, the mayor of London, has called for it to be cancelled - as has Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.

Mr Trump attacked Mr Khan on Twitter after the mayor told Londoners not to be alarmed about an increased police presence following Saturday's attack.

The London mayor said Mr Trump was wrong about "many things" and that his state visit, expected to take place later this year, should not go ahead.

Mrs May, who had previously stopped short of criticising the US president's comments, said: "I think Donald Trump was wrong in the things he has said about Sadiq Khan... we have been working with Sadiq Khan - party politics are put to one side - we work together."

She replied "yes" when asked if Mr Trump's official trip to Britain would go ahead.

The PM also emphasised the importance to UK security of the special relationship.

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Media captionSadiq Khan, Mayor of London: "There aren't words to describe the grief and anger our city will be feeling today"
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Media captionTrump's son criticises London mayor to ABC News

Seven people were killed and 48 injured when three men drove a van into pedestrians and stabbed people in bars in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of the capital on Saturday night.

Speaking in the aftermath of the attack, Mr Khan said there were no words to describe the "grief and anger" the city was feeling, before saying: "Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed."

The US president criticised Mr Khan for this on Twitter, saying: "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'"

Image copyright Twitter

A spokesman for Mr Khan responded, saying he had "more important things to do" than respond to Donald Trump's "ill-informed tweet" that "deliberately" took his remarks "out of context".

But Mr Trump tweeted again on Monday, saying: "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM [mainstream media] is working hard to sell it!"

Mr Khan said he didn't think the UK should "roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for".

Mr Farron has labelled Mr Trump "an embarrassment to America", and his Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake added: "Theresa May has allowed Donald Trump 24 hours to bully the mayor of London. It isn't good enough."

Earlier Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who is also a former London mayor - defended Mr Khan, saying he had been "entirely right to say what he said to reassure people of his city about the presence of armed officers on the streets".

But he told the Today programme the state visit invitation had been issued and accepted and he saw "no reason to change that".

White House adviser Sebastian Gorka defended the president's comments, saying he was making a "very valid point".

He told BBC Newsnight: "We have to jettison political correctness. We have to apply honesty to the threat and saying, 'It's just business as usual, don't worry about a thing', [is] a Pollyannaish attitude to a threat that has killed 170 people in the last two years in Europe alone and maimed more than 700."

He insisted there was no chance the state visit would be cancelled, saying: "If anybody thinks that a state visit is held hostage to Twitter then they have no understanding of the relationship between London and Washington."

Mr Khan and the US president have clashed several times in the past, with the London mayor criticising Mr Trump's remarks about Muslims and his attempts to bring in a travel ban against people from six mainly-Muslim countries trying to enter the US, and Mr Trump labelling him a "buffoon" and challenging him to an IQ test.

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