May re­bukes Trump over‘un­help­ful’ ter­ror at­tack tweets

Irish Independent - - NEWS - Nick Allen

BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May re­buked Don­ald Trump in a diplo­matic row over the Par­sons Green tube at­tack af­ter he sug­gested those re­spon­si­ble had been “in the sights of Scot­land Yard”.

Mrs May called the in­ter­ven­tion by the US president “un­help­ful”, as he ap­peared to claim Bri­tain needed to be “tougher” and more “proac­tive” in the fight against ter­ror­ism.

The row threat­ened to un­der­mine the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship and in­tel­li­gence shar­ing ar­range­ments be­tween the UK and US.

Mr Trump, not for the first time, also used the at­tack to jus­tify his con­tro­ver­sial pro­posed travel ban on peo­ple from some pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries en­ter­ing the US.

Fol­low­ing a back­lash against his com­ments the president said he would be tele­phon­ing Mrs May “right now”. Sum­maris­ing that call, a White House spokesman said: “He con­veyed his sym­pa­thies and prayers for those in­jured in the ter­ror­ist at­tack in Lon­don.

“The president pledged to con­tinue close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the United King­dom to stop at­tacks world­wide tar­get­ing in­no­cent civil­ians and to com­bat ex­trem­ism.”

It was un­clear whether Mr Trump had re­ceived a brief­ing be­fore mak­ing his claims, in which case he leaked Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence, or if he jumped to a con­clu­sion with­out ev­i­dence about who was be­hind the at­tack.

In a se­ries of tweets, Mr Trump wrote: “An­other at­tack in Lon­don by a loser ter­ror­ist. These are sick and de­mented peo­ple who were in the sights of Scot­land Yard.

Must be proac­tive! Loser ter­ror­ists must be dealt with in a much tougher man­ner. The in­ter­net is their main re­cruit­ment tool which we must cut off and use bet­ter!”

He added: “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more spe­cific – but stupidly, that would not be po­lit­i­cally cor­rect.

“We have made more progress in the last nine months against Isis than the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion has made in eight years. Must be proac­tive and nasty!”

The tim­ing of his tweets sug­gested it was un­likely he had been briefed on Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence, and UK se­cu­rity ser­vices said they did not know who was re­spon­si­ble.

Af­ter chair­ing a meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ment’s Co­bra emer­gen­cies com­mit­tee, Mrs May said it was not “help­ful” to spec­u­late on an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and the po­lice were still work­ing to iden­tify who had car­ried it out.

In Down­ing Street, Mrs May said: “I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices are work­ing to dis­cover the full cir­cum­stances of this cow­ardly at­tack and to iden­tify all those re­spon­si­ble.”

Her com­ments were echoed by the Metropoli­tan Po­lice which said Mr Trump’s in­ter­ven­tion was “un­help­ful” and “pure spec­u­la­tion”.

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