Trump's pitch for Farage rebuffed

Britain dismisses US President-elect Donald Trump's unprecedented expression of support for Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, after he tweeted that 'many people' would like to see him as Britain's ambassador to Washington.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (right) greets United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign rally on Aug 24, 2016 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (right) greets United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage at a campaign rally on Aug 24, 2016 in Jackson, Mississippi.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON •US President-elect Donald Trump suggested that Britain appoint long-time UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage as ambassador to Washington, earning a rebuff from the British government that the incumbent would "be there for years".

"Many people would like to see Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their ambassador to the United States," Mr Trump tweeted on Monday. "He would do a great job!"

The British government is trying to build ties with the new US administration after Mr Trump took more than a day to call Prime Minister Theresa May after his election victory this month.

"We're believers in free speech in Britain, but we've got a very good ambassador, Kim Darroch, who's going to be there for some years," Brexit Secretary David Davis told BBC Television.

"There's no vacancy. This is the ambassador, he's very, very good, as we've seen already, and he'll be there for years."

Mrs May had met Mr Darroch in London for scheduled discussions on Tuesday, her office said, without giving any further details.

Her spokesman, Mr Greg Swift, praised the ambassador, who started in Washington in January, and said he expected him to serve in the post for at least four years.

For his part, Mr Farage tweeted that "the world has changed. It's time that Downing Street did too".

"I have known several of the Trump team for years and I am in a good position with the President-elect's support to help," Mr Farage said.

Britain is drawing up plans to invite Mr Trump for an official state visit next year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'Trump's pitch for Farage rebuffed'. Print Edition | Subscribe