Donald Trump has warned Theresa May that a soft Brexit will “kill” the chance of a trade deal with the US, in comments that hugely undermine her attempts to win support for her Chequers deal.
On the first day of the US President’s four-day visit to the UK, he suggested Mrs May was not delivering the Brexit the British people voted for and said she had not listened to his advice on how to negotiate.
“I would have done it much differently,” he said.
Mrs May has spent the week reassuring the public and her own MPs that her controversial Chequers agreement on Brexit will still allow Britain to strike ambitious trade deals with the US and other countries.
But Mr Trump pulled the rug from under her feet by saying: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Mr Trump said: “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”
He added: “The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.
“It was not the deal that was in the referendum…I know they have had a lot of resignations, so a lot of people don’t like it.”
Boris Johnson, who resigned on Monday because he disagrees with the Chequers deal, would make “a great prime minister”, Mr Trump added.
His comments amount to a humiliation for Mrs May, who must endure a press conference with the President on Friday at Chequers which seems likely to add to Mrs May’s woes.
It came as the Prime Minister’s long-awaited Brexit white paper was savaged by Tory Eurosceptics as soon as it was published, with Jacob Rees-Mogg accusing the Prime Minister of cowardice and describing it as the worst act of “vassalage” to Europe for more than 800 years.
Mrs May could also face a confidence vote before Parliament breaks up for the summer, it emerged, after Conservative whips let it be known that the number of letters submitted by Tory MPs calling for a vote was coming close to the 48 needed to trigger one.
On Thursday night Mrs May hosted President Trump and his wife Melania for a black tie dinner at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, where the Prime Minister renewed her plea for a comprehensive trade deal with the US.
In the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the President’s heroes, Mrs May reminded him that the wartime leader said that having the US at his side was “the greatest joy” as she talked up the importance of the special relationship.
She said Brexit was an opportunity “to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic”.
But as she made her pitch for a trade deal in front of 150 business leaders and ministers, she was unaware that Mr Trump had already dismissed the chances of a deal in his typically outspoken newspaper interview.
He told The Sun that despite his advice to Mrs May on how to negotiate, she has gone “the opposite way” and the results have been “very unfortunate”.
Mrs May has decided Britain should have a “common rulebook” with the EU, but Mr Trump said: “If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made.”
Brexiteers believe that any form of deal with the EU that prevents Britain signing lucrative trade deals around the world is “not Brexit” and Mr Trump’s intervention will only amplify their argument.
He said Mrs May’s plan “will definitely affect trade with the United States, unfortunately in a negative way”.
The White House later said Mr Trump “likes and respects Prime Minister May very much”.
“As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her,’ ” U.S. press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “He thought she was great on Nato today and is a really terrific person.”
At an unscheduled press conference in Brussels on Thursday following the Nato summit, he also said immigration was “why Brexit happened” and described Britain as “a hotspot…with a lot of resignations”.
Nigel Farage was questioned on whether he had “wound up” Mr Trump about Brexit on BBC’s This Week.
The former Ukip leader said: “We’ve had the odd chat about it, I like to have a chat with them (Team Trump).”
Presenter Andrew Neil said Mr Farage’s hand “was all over the article” in The Sun, to which the MEP said: “Oh, on balance they’re probably more Eurosceptic than I am.”
Mr Trump was accused of “disrespecting” the nation after his latest intervention on Brexit.
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said Mr Trump was “determined to insult” Mrs May.
She added: “The divisive, dog-whistle rhetoric in his @TheSun interview is repulsive.
“If signing up to the £Trump world view is the price of a deal, it’s not worth paying.”
The launch of Mrs May’s Brexit white paper, a 98-page document fleshing out the details of the Chequers plan that prompted the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson, descended into chaos on Thursday.
Dominic Raab, the new Brexit Secretary, broke Parliament’s ministerial code of conduct in only his fourth day in the job by introducing the document in the Commons before MPs had seen it, forcing Speaker John Bercow to suspend proceedings while officials found copies and handed them out.
The white paper revealed plans to give EU citizens visa-free travel to Britain for “temporary” work, which takes Britain a step closer to free movement of labour across the Channel.
It also conceded ground on the role of the European Court of Justice after Brexit, saying arbitrators of any trade disputes should be able to “refer” cases to the ECJ for “interpretation”, where previously Mrs May has only said courts should pay regard to ECJ case law in their decisions.
Tory MPs lined up to criticise the white paper, with few speaking out in support of it.
Suggesting the Government had been too cowardly to stand up to the EU Mr Rees-Mogg said: “This white paper has not needed age to turn yellow. There are very few signs of the Prime Minister’s famous red lines. It is a bad deal for Britain. It is not something I would vote for nor is it what the British people voted for.”
Mr Rees-Mogg said the paper meant the UK will be subject to EU laws while having no say in their creation because it creates a “common rulebook” for goods.
He said: “The UK has accepted it cannot diverge from ‘ongoing harmonisation’ without activating repercussions for Northern Ireland. In effect, Parliament will have no say over future EU laws implemented in the UK.
“This is the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200.”
Video: Trump on May’s Brexit plans – ‘I don’t know if that is what they voted for’
Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago, says Trump as he claims summit victory
Before Mr Trump left Brussels, Nato held an emergency session over his demands for higher spending on defence.
In a Press conference, the president said the US “commitment to Nato remains very strong”.
Mr Trump said “tremendous” progress had been made on extra spending. “We made a tremendous amount of progress today,” he told reporters, adding: “The United States’ commitment to Nato remains very strong.”
Speaking about countries’ contribution to Nato, Mr Trump told reporters: “Yesterday, I let them know I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment.”
Nato was now “much stronger than it was two days ago”, he said. “I believe in Nato.”
Mr Trump said that Nato would soon discuss member defence spending at a higher level than the alliance’s target of two per cent of GDP. “I think four per cent is the right number,” he said.
Video: Trump’s statement over Nato spending
Mr Trump insisted Nato leaders were now “putting up a lot” and it was “unnecessary” to pull the US out of the organisation.
He said Germany had agreed to increase “very substantially” the timescale for increasing funding.
“The people have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before,” he said.
Mr Trump said everybody in the room had thanked him, including secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, and described himself as a “very stable genius”.
Banner protests against Trump polices unfurled opposite US embassy
A banner branding Donald Trump as a “human rights nightmare” has been unveiled on a London bridge as the US President visits the UK.
Amnesty International revealed the 15-metre long banner on Vauxhall Bridge in central London on Thursday afternoon ahead of Mr Trump landing.
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen hopes Theresa May will discuss Mr Trump’s track record on human rights during their time spent together in the coming days.
“His record for human rights is simply disgraceful, from ripping parents from children’s arms on the Mexican border and putting them into cages to the travel ban to pulling the US globally out of the United Nations machinery that exists to advance human rights worldwide,” Ms Allen said.
“This (the banner) is simply to be very clear this weekend, while President Trump is visiting, that we object to much of his record in terms of human rights and we want our Prime Minister to raise these issues with him.”
Charity workers unfurled the banner, containing an unflattering image of the president, over the edge of the bridge at around 1.30pm.
The controversial president is also expected to be met with protests, including one in London on Friday that expects to draw tens of thousands of demonstrators.
But Mr Trump is expected to avoid areas such as central London where mass protesters could gather. Amnesty said the banner would be visible to officials working at the US Embassy.
Protests will need as many police as London riots
Opponents have threatened mass protests against the visit, but Mr Trump is expected to avoid areas such as central London where demonstrators could gather.
Protests over Mr Trump’s visit – which are being led by allies of Jeremy Corbyn – will require as many police officers as the London riots of 2011, the Metropolitan Police revealed.
Tens of thousands of protesters, many said to be members of trade unions and Momentum, are expected to take to the streets. A 20ft-high blow-up caricature depicting Mr Trump as a baby – wearing a nappy and clutching a mobile phone – will fly near Parliament on Friday.
The police operation for his trip is expected to cost at least £8million.
Asst Chief Constable Chris Shead, of the National Police Coordination Centre, said officers would be working 12-hour shifts.
He added: “Police forces are working together on a significant, multi-faceted security operation supporting the presidential visit… nearly all police forces in England and Wales are providing officers and resources.”
‘Prisoners have better accommodation’: Hundreds of police sleeping in gym during visit
Police securing Donald Trump’s visit to the UK are being forced to sleep in unacceptable conditions worse than cells, the organisation representing rank-and-file officers has said.
Pictures show cramped lines of camp beds filling a vast gymnasium and sleeping mats on the floor of a squash court for officers to rest on between long shifts policing the US President’s trip, starting on Thursday.
The Police Federation has complained of the conditions its members are facing during the operation, which will see officers from across the country enlisted.
Prisoners arrested last night will have had better accommodation than those #police officers ensuring the Presidential visit runs smoothly. @PoliceChiefs who talk well-being of their people need to take a long hard look at this. This is not acceptable. pic.twitter.com/B81tI8zQaC
— John Apter (@Hantsfedchair) July 12, 2018
Simon Kempton, the organisation’s deputy treasurer in England and Wales, said 300 officers are expected to sleep in the gymnasium with no hot water and restricted access to warm food.
“These officers have been asked to leave their families to travel to another part of the country to help protect the public and the president and all they expect in return is to be treated with some dignity and respect,” he said.
“What’s clear is that anyone overnight who has been arrested by the police would be put in accommodation far superior to what the officers are staying in.”
He said officers at that site are only averaging three to four hours’ sleep ahead of 15-hour shifts because of the conditions.
Spoken with a number of officers and some bosses this morning about the Op Manifold accommodation debacle. Clear there is a mixed bag, some accommodation is fine and some far from fine. Reassured @PFEW_HQ are all over this, just remember this is not of our making!
— John Apter (@Hantsfedchair) July 12, 2018
John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, wrote on Twitter: “Prisoners arrested last night will have had better accommodation than those police officers ensuring the Presidential visit runs smoothly.”
He said: “There’s so much pressure on officers at the moment. Many are having rest days cancelled, working extended hours and this on top of it; do the bosses really care?
“It hits morale. It’s tough at the moment, really tough and they don’t deserve this – it’s not right and it’s not acceptable.”
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokeswoman said Essex Police are working “at speed” to resolve the issue.
“Some of the accommodation pictured today for officers supporting the major operation for the US presidential visit is not acceptable and below the standard of other accommodation for this operation,” she added.
Day-by-day: The US president’s itinerary in Britain
Donald Trump has a busy few days ahead of him as he arrives for his first visit to the UK as president. Here is a look at his itinerary.
- Mr Trump flew into Stansted airport on Thursday afternoon, fresh from the Nato summit in Brussels.
- Mr Trump and First Lady Melania then had a meet and greet at the US Embassy in London.
- The US president cancelled a planned visit to open the newly relocated embassy at the beginning of the year, saying the move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to an what he described as an “off location” at Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a “bad deal”.
- The couple will attend a black-tie dinner at the Grade I-listed Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire hosted by Theresa May.
- Other guests are set to include leaders from business sectors, celebrating the business links between the UK and US.
- The menu for the dinner at Blenheim Palace includes Scottish salmon, English Hereford beef filet and vegetables, and strawberries and clotted cream ice cream.
- Mr Trump and his wife will spend Thursday night at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, which is the US Ambassador’s residence in London.
- Mr Trump will meet again with Mrs May for a visit to a defence site. Air restrictions have been put in place above the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
- The pair will then travel to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, for what is being billed as “substantive bilateral talks on a range of foreign policy issues” during a working lunch.
- The menu for the working lunch will consist of Dover sole, Chiltern lamb and vegetables, and lemon meringue pie.
- A press conference is pencilled in for afterwards.
- Mr Trump will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle.
- The Queen and Mr Trump will inspect the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past.
- Mr and Mrs Trump will also join the Queen for tea at the Castle.
- Later in the evening Mr Trump will head to Scotland for the weekend. He will be welcomed by David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland.
- Mr Trump is believed to be spending the weekend playing golf at his Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, which he bought in 2014, although there has been no official confirmation of his plans.
- Mr Trump’s mother, the late Mary MacLeod Trump, was Scottish. She was born on the Isle of Lewis before emigrating to the US in the 1930s.
- President Trump and the First Lady are expected to depart.
Helicopters, a motorcade and the nuclear ‘football’: Trump’s presidential entourage
Donald Trump will be accompanied by as many as 1,000 staff, a motorcade and multiple helicopters during his UK trip.
Here is what the presidential entourage is made up of:
Air Force One
The US leader will emerge from Air Force One – one of two specially modified Boeing 747-200s.
The luxurious aircraft, carrying the tail codes 28000 and 29000, are highly customised and can act as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States.
The words “United States of America”, the Seal of the President of the United States and the American flag are all visible on the outside of the plane, making it instantly recognisable.
The aircraft has 4,000 square feet of floor space, including a Presidential suite with a large office and conference room, a medical suite that can be used as an operating room and two food preparation galleys that can feed 100 people at a time.
Overseas trips see additional staff and security flown over on an Air Force C-32, which is a modified Boeing 757.
The presidential motorcade, which includes two identical limousines, nicknamed The Beast, and other security and communications vehicles, is brought across by Air Force transport aircraft.
The Beast is a seven-seat black armoured limousine which reportedly costs two million US dollars (£1.5 million) and is designed to give Mr Trump the ultimate protection.
It can be turned into a sealed panic room with oxygen tanks, night-vision camera and reinforced steel plating said to be able to resist bullets, chemical attacks and bombs.
The Cadillac has Kevlar-reinforced tyres and steel rims that can keep the vehicle moving even if the tyres have been destroyed.
Bottles of the president’s blood type are carried on board in case of a medical emergency, and a satellite phone enables communication to be maintained from anywhere in the world.
As well as being able to defend the president, the car also features a host of attacking capabilities, such as a pump-action shotgun and a tear gas cannon.
A number of presidential helicopters, either VH-3D Sea Kings or VH-60N White Hawks – which are known as Marine One when the president is on board – are also brought on overseas trips.
The Marine One helicopter is fitted with communications equipment, anti-missile defences and hardened hulls.
Staff and security personnel are ferried around in MV-22 Ospreys and CH-46s.
Staff typically involved in an overseas trip include Secret Service post-standers, military communications specialists and White House aides.
The president has at his side at all times a White House doctor and one of five rotating military aides who carry the nuclear “football” – equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.
There is always a group of 13 members of the press on such visits, including three wire reporters, two print reporters, four photographers, a three-person television crew, and a radio reporter.
Germany ‘controlled’ by Russian energy, says Trump
The US president used the Nato summit to launch fierce attack on Germany, saying it was “totally controlled” by Russia, as he ratcheted up demands for Nato allies to pay more for their collective defence.
Mr Trump accused Angela Merkel’s country of being “captive” to Russia because of its joint energy deals, including a proposed new gas pipeline.
He questioned why America was spending billions of dollars countering the Kremlin through Nato while European countries handed similar amounts to Russia in business deals.
Mr Trump also suggested that Nato’s 29 members should spend four per cent of their GDP on defence, double the two per cent target that all but a handful of countries already fail to meet.
The criticism drew a rebuttal from Mrs Merkel, who said Germany was “independent” and pointedly referred to her upbringing in the Soviet-controlled East.
The clash undermined the message of “strength and unity” that US officials had hoped would result from the twoday gathering in Brussels.
But the worst fears of Nato officials – that Mr Trump would threaten to withdraw troops from Europe unless defence spending was increased – did not come to pass, with the president declining to issue the ultimatum when asked.
Trump to spend time playing golf in Scotland
Donald Trump is expected to increase the amount of time he has spent playing golf during his presidency when he spends the weekend at one of his Scottish courses.
The US president is due to touch down in Scotland on Friday night before travelling on to Turnberry, the famous South Ayrshire golf resort he bought in 2014.
There were reports earlier this year that diplomats had been tasked with finding a famous golfing partner for Mr Trump for a round at Turnberry, but no names have been confirmed.
So far, Mr Trump has spent 125 days at his golf properties during his presidency, according to NBC News, but the precise number of times he has actually played golf is difficult to track as trips have mainly been weekend private visits.
He last visited Turnberry in 2016 to reopen it after a £200 million refurbishment. At the time, he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and staff at the course wore caps with the message “made Turnberry great again” in a nod to his campaign slogan.
It was his second golf course in Scotland after Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, the construction of which was marred in controversy as he clashed with local residents, environmental campaigners and politicians.
The Balmedie course eventually opened in 2012 and was praised in golf circles, but its chances of hosting some of the major competitions Mr Trump wanted it to be associated with seemed remote.
That led to his surprise purchase of Turnberry in 2014, a historic course on the Open Championship rota which staged the famous 1977 “duel in the sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.
The deal had little of the controversy around his Aberdeenshire development, with questions only raised over the decision to change the name of the resort to TrumpTurnberry.
The former businessman said the name change aimed to make the course “more successful”, and was not intended to massage his ego.
Turnberry staged the women’s Open in 2015 with Mr Trump in attendance, but as he stepped up the rhetoric in his US presidential campaign, the R&A – the governing body of golf – said the course will not be considered for holding the Open before 2022 at the earliest.
The first of a series of protests over the president’s latest visit was held outside Trump Turnberry on Wednesday.
Around a dozen activists from Stand Up to Racism Scotland (SUTR) brandished banners with the slogans “Trump not welcome” and “No to racism, no to Trump”.