May re­bukes Trump over ‘in the sights’ comment

Western Mail - - NEWS -

THERESA MAY has de­liv­ered a re­buke to Don­ald Trump over his claim the Par­sons Green Tube bomber was “in the sights” of Scot­land Yard.

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the gov­ern­ment’s Co­bra emer­gen­cies com­mit­tee, the Prime Min­is­ter said: “I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Her in­ter­ven­tion came af­ter the Metropoli­tan Po­lice said the US President’s com­ments – which did not cor­re­spond with any in­for­ma­tion re­leased by the UK au­thor­i­ties – were “un­help­ful” and “pure spec­u­la­tion”.

Mr Trump made the provoca­tive al­le­ga­tion in a trade­mark tweet as po­lice launched a ma­jor man­hunt to track down the per­pe­tra­tors re­spon­si­ble for plant­ing the de­vice on a packed com­muter train.

“An­other at­tack in Lon­don by a loser ter­ror­ist,” he wrote. “These are sick and de­mented peo­ple who were in the sights of Scot­land Yard. Must be proac­tive!”

His claim threat­ened to spark a fresh row over US-UK in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing ar­range­ments which have al­ready come un­der strain since he en­tered the White House.

A Scot­land Yard spokesman said: “The com­ments are un­help­ful and pure spec­u­la­tion. If any­one has got any ev­i­dence or in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact the anti-ter­ror­ism hot­line.”

The re­marks were echoed by for­mer No 10 aide Nick Ti­mothy, who tweeted: “True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so un­help­ful from leader of our ally and in­tel­li­gence part­ner.”

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from the White House to ques­tions as to the ba­sis of Mr Trump’s as­ser­tion.

How­ever, it comes af­ter Bri­tish po­lice tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing with the US in the wake of the Manch­ester Arena bomb­ing in May fol­low­ing a se­ries of leaks to Amer­i­can me­dia.

CBS dis­closed the name of the bomber, Sal­man Abedi, cit­ing US sources, at a time when the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties were ask­ing me­dia to with­hold the in­for­ma­tion to pro­tect the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The New York Times then pub­lished de­tailed pho­to­graphs taken from the bomb scene which had been taken by Bri­tish in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” had al­ready come un­der strain ear­lier in the year, when the then White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer re­peated claims that GCHQ, the UK surveillance agency, had been in­volved in bug­ging the Trump cam­paign on be­half of Barack Obama.

His com­ments drew a rare pub­lic state­ment from GCHQ, de­nounc­ing the al­le­ga­tion as “ut­terly ridicu­lous”.

Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan, who clashed with Mr Trump over his re­sponse to the Lon­don Bridge ter­ror at­tack, would not be drawn on the President’s lat­est com­ments.

“I’ve sim­ply been too busy this morn­ing to look at my Twit­ter,” he told LBC Ra­dio. “My pri­or­ity is mak­ing sure that we do what we can to keep Lon­don­ers safe.”

A City Hall source said: “He hopes peo­ple don’t spec­u­late on things be­fore we know the full facts. That’s quite clear what he thinks about that.”

Asked about the Lon­don ter­ror at­tack by re­porters out­side the White House in Wash­ing­ton, Mr Trump said: “It’s a ter­ri­ble thing. It just keeps go­ing and go­ing, and we have to be very smart, we have to be very, very tough. Per­haps we are not nearly tough enough.

“It’s just an ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble thing. In fact, I’m go­ing to call the Prime Min­is­ter right now.

“We have to be tougher and we have to be smarter.”

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