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Newspaper claims Trump visit put off; US, UK deny report

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said on Sunday there had been no change in plans for US President Donald Trump to come to Britain on a state visit, after the Guardian newspaper reported the trip had been postponed.

The paper, citing an unidentified adviser at May’s Downing Street office who was in the room at the time, reported Trump had told May by telephone in recent weeks that he did not want to come if there were likely to be large-scale protests.

“We aren’t going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations,” a spokeswoman for May’s office said. “The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans.” The White House also denied the Guardian report, with an administration official telling Reuters, “The subject never came up on the call.”

No date has been set for the visit, which was agreed during May’s visit to Washington in January, but British media had reported it was planned for October.

Trump’s public criticism this month of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s response to an attack by Islamist militants in London was condemned in Britain. May found herself forced to defend Khan, who is from the opposition Labour party.

At that time, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there was no reason to cancel the visit, while White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that Trump intended to go and that “he appreciates Her Majesty’s gracious invitation”.

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