Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has insisted US President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to Britain will still go ahead after claims it had been canned when the Queen’s Speech made no mention of it.
The Queen’s Speech traditionally includes the government’s planned state visits, however the program announced for the next two years only contained a reference to welcoming King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain in July.
“The visit will go ahead, believe me,” Johnson told Sky News.
“The formality is that you cannot put the date of the president’s state visit into the Queen’s Speech until it has been actually agreed.”
He said it was “wholly right” that the “democratically-elected representative of our most important ally” should come to the UK.
Trump’s visit was initially planned for this summer. Prime Minister Theresa May invited the US leader after they were pictured holding hands together on the White House lawn in January.
The visit threatened to spark large scale demonstrations, however. After May made the invitation, thousands marched through London to protest the decision, while 1.8 million people signed a petition urging May to rescind the invitation.
Trump reportedly later told the PM he would not go ahead with the visit if it was likely to cause widespread demonstrations.
Johnson earlier this month said Trump’s visit should go ahead as planned, despite an ongoing row between the US president and London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the UK capital.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Khan’s office said he had simply been saying people should not be alarmed by additional police presence on the streets, but Trump accused him of making “pathetic excuses,” prompting the mayor to call for the visit to be dropped.