Trump to visit Britain in early 2018 for 'working visit', full state visit to come later

British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump at the Palace Hotel in New York on Sept 20, 2017. Theresa May's office said the government's position on Mr Trump's State Visit has not changed. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - US President Donald Trump will make a working visit to Britain in early 2018, with a full state visit to follow later on an unspecified date, the London Evening Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday (Oct 11).

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office declined to comment on the report, and said its position on the state visit had not changed. The offer had been extended, accepted by Mr Trump, and no dates had been arranged.

Mrs May invited Mr Trump for a state visit during a trip to Washington in January, shortly after he was inaugurated as President. The plan has proved controversial in Britain, with mass protests expected to greet the US leader.

The Evening Standard, which is edited by Mr George Osborne, a former finance minister fired by Mrs May last year, reported that diplomats were discussing plans for a pared-down working visit, devoid of the pomp of a full state visit.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said it was likely to form part of a tour of several countries by the US President.

The Guardian newspaper reported in June that Mr Trump's state visit had been postponed indefinitely after he told Mrs May during a phone conversation that he did not want to come if there were going to be large-scale protests.

The White House denied that report and Mrs May's Downing Street office said plans for the state visit had not changed.

The British government regards its close ties with Washington as a "special relationship" and a pillar of its foreign policy, as it prepares to leave the European Union.

But Mrs May's haste in visiting Mr Trump so early in his term and inviting him for a state visit, which typically involves lavish pageantry and events hosted by Queen Elizabeth, was criticised by some in Britain.

Mr Trump's pledge during his campaign to stop Muslims from entering the US caused outrage in Britain, going as far as a debate in Parliament about whether Mr Trump should be banned from the country.

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