by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s been an extremely tense few months for the UK – the country is adjusting after three terror attacks in the space of as many months, with several killed and many still recovering in hospital. Those directly responsible have either blown themselves up or have been shot by police – but the events have led to very public discussions over the future of security and policing in the country, just days away from a snap general election that, only weeks ago, current Prime Minister Theresa May called in confidence. Alongside the tragedy and the country’s recovery, May has fared negatively in many polls, having lost considerable points in her lead over firebrand Jeremy Corbyn, whose left-leaning politics were originally thought to be too radical for the establishment. All in all, it has been a spring-cum-summer of high emotion and tense feeling amongst Britons, and US President Donald Trump wading into the fray on Twitter has stirred up particular tensions between himself and London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Trump was openly critical of Khan on Twitter, stating that he felt Khan’s claim of no one needing to be alarmed was the incorrect stance to be taking. Khan’s team had responded that the Mayor had been taken out of context – he was referring to the presence of armed forces on the streets, not terror threats – and that time would be better spent overseeing London than responding to Trump. Trump himself has reportedly accused Khan of making a ‘pathetic excuse’, to which the Mayor himself has spoken out via national news.
Khan stated that he did not think London should ‘roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for’. Khan is the latest in several high profile figures to suggest Trump’s forthcoming state visit be abandoned, however, Theresa May has remained tight-lipped on the subject of the US President – even coming down to his treatment of the London Mayor and his decision to remove the US from the Paris Climate Treaty.
It will remain to be seen whether or not Trump’s state visit will be cancelled – May remains loath to discuss the President in too much detail, and it will be likely that he visits the country at some point in the future – but whether or not, as Khan terms it, the ‘red carpet’ will be ‘rolled out’ remains to be seen.