Trump to avoid protests on UK visit, seeks swift deal after Brexit

Britain's exit from the European Union means it will be more reliant than ever on the United States, especially economically. President Trump's visit to the UK this week may test how realistic that dependency is.
UK protesters inflate a blimp portraying US President Donald Trump which they plan to fly over Parliament during his visit.
UK protesters inflate a blimp portraying US President Donald Trump which they plan to fly over Parliament during his visit.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON/WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump would like a quick trade deal with Britain once Brexit is finished, the US ambassador to Britain said ahead of a presidential visit to London next week that will keep Mr Trump largely away from planned mass protests.

Mr Trump arrives in Britain on Thursday after a Nato summit in Belgium that could turn contentious over the US leader's insistence that allies pay more for their defence and amid trade disputes between Washington and Europe.

US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson painted trade as a potential bright spot in the strong "special relationship" between Britain and the United States, which he said Mr Trump intended to strengthen.

"He would love to do a bilateral trade deal and he is really ready to step up on that the minute we get the go-ahead to do it," Mr Johnson said, adding that US government agencies were already looking at how to put a deal together.

Less of a bright spot for Mr Trump, whose mother hailed from Scotland, will be the protesters awaiting him in London. More than 50,000 people have signed up to demonstrate against Mr Trump's perceived racism and sexism, and his treatment of migrants.

Protesters are planning to fly a blimp over Parliament portraying Mr Trump as an orange, snarling baby during his visit, after London mayor Sadiq Khan approved a request for its use.

A counter-gathering to welcome Mr Trump is also planned.

The President will steer clear of the demonstrations. Mr Johnson said the trip was not planned to avoid the protests.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Trump to avoid protests on UK visit, seeks swift deal after Brexit'. Print Edition | Subscribe