■ Johnson labels London mayor a ‘puffed-up pompous popinjay’
UK foreign affairs minister Boris Johnson has lashed out at London mayor Sadiq Khan after Donald Trump cancelled his visit to Britain.
Donald Trump’ s cancellation of a visit to Britain has left the UK government and City Hall at loggerheads as Boris Johnson accused London mayor SadiqKh an of endangering the so-called “special relationship”.
There was initially confusion as D owning St was unable to say whether the foreign secretary was speaking for the government when he said Mr Khan and Jeremy Corbyn were putting the “crucial relationship at risk”.
Mr Khan had said the US president had “got the message” from Londoners and would have been met by “mass peaceful protests” if he went ahead with plans to open the new American embassy in the capital.
A Number 10 source said: “Boris expresses himself in his own inimitable way, but we agree that any risk to the crucial US-UK relationship is not in our country’s best interests.”
Mr Trump said he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to an “off location” at Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a “bad deal”.
Despite the president publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 when George W Bush was in the White House.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama AdminisThe tration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2 billion.
“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”
But last night, the US embassy in London said its move to a new location has been completed within budget.
A spokesman for the US embassy said: “The US chancery in Grosvenor Square had aged beyond its ability to be improved to current security and life safety standards without extensive investment in infrastructure would require appropriated dollars.
“In 2007, the Department developed a plan to finance a new embassy project through a property swap for existing US government property in London.
“This solution allowed construction of a new chancery that meets all security standards, yet used no taxpayer dollars to fund the project.”
The spokesman said the budget was approximately $1bn (€820m) and includes the site purchase, design, and construction costs.
Reacting to the announcement, Mr Khan, who clashed with the US president after Mr Trump attacked his handling of the London Bridge terror attack, said: “It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance.”
Then Mr Johnson tweeted: “The US is the biggest single investor in the UK — yet Khan & Corbyn seem determined to put this crucial relationship at risk. We will not allow US-UK relations to be endangered by some puffedthat up pompous popinjay in City Hall.”
Before the foreign secretary’s post, a Downing St spokesman was asked if Mr Khan had damaged the socalled “special relationship”.
He replied: “No, the US and the UK are natural resilient strong partners and allies and we do more together than any two countries in the world.”
But the spokesman said Ms May would tell Mr Trump he is welcome in London. Asked about the PM’s views on south London after the president described the embassy’s new site as an “off location”, the spokesman said: “I think Vauxhall is a vibrant and important part of London and home to many businesses. Obviously Apple are moving their headquarters there.”
The spokesman added: “A state visit (invitation) has been extended and accepted and we will confirm the details in due course.
“No date was confirmed for any visit, the one you are referring to now. The opening of the US embassy is a matter for the US.”
Mr Trump’ s announcement followed speculation that he would formally open the embassy at a ceremony in February.
new building will open for business on January 16.
Ms May controversially extended the offer of a state visit, officially on behalf of the Queen, when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year.
Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.