Trump wants UK’s right-wing leader to join him during London visit

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks at a European Parliament election campaign event in Pontefract, northwest England, on May 13, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump is reportedly trying to secure an invitation for Britain’s right-wing politician Nigel Farage despite objections by the British government that his presence could be seen as a major blow to the ruling Conservative Party.

The Mail on Sunday said people close to Farage had revealed that Trump was trying to ensure that the leader of the newly-established Brexit Party would be present during a state banquet hosted by British queen when the US president visits London in early June.

They said however that the British government could block Trump’s move as Prime Minister Theresa May and her allies in the Tory party have been openly opposed to one such invitation for Farage.

“Overtures have been made about Nigel going in with the US contingent. We have been told that his attendance would be a 'red line' for No 10, but it's not clear if they would be able to stop him coming,” said a Farage ally.

Notable British politicians, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament Speaker John Bercow and London mayor Sadiq Khan have boycotted the ceremony in protest against Trump’s policies.

Both the White House and the Buckingham Palace, which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, refused to comment on the report. The UK government also said that the list of guests for Trump’s visit has yet to be finalized.

Farage, a former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and a fierce advocate of right-wing politics, has seen his popularity surge since he established Brexit Party in January. The new party is expected to win the European Parliament elections this Thursday.

Farage was the first UK politician to visit and congratulate Trump in New York after he was elected in 2016. He has always sought to defend Trump’s controversial policies in the face of increasing criticism in Britain.

Trump’s reported efforts to have Farage in London visit comes as the White House has reportedly been irked by British government’s decision to begin a series if crucial debates in the British parliament about UK’S withdrawal from the European Union on June 3, the same day Trump arrives in the UK.

“It did strike us as odd and if you want the President to spend his whole trip talking about Brexit, then this was the way to do it,” said a US government source.

Right campaigners and political activists have criticized the Buckingham Palace and the UK government for inviting Trump to the UK for a full state-visit. The US president faced huge protests in London and other UK cities when he traveled to the country last year for a working visit.

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