Donald Trump has confirmed he has cancelled his trip to London to open the new US embassy, saying he does not want to cut the ribbon as he considers the building’s relocation a “bad deal”.
The US President tweeted: “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration 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 dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO.”
Mr Trump had been expected to visit the new £750m ($1bn) home for American diplomats on the banks of the River Thames as early as next month.
But Sky News understands US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will now undertake ceremonial duties at the official opening of the distinctive cube building.
It does not mean plans for the US President’s state visit to the UK are off entirely, with a Downing Street spokesman reportedly telling the Daily Mail: “An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted.”
MPs have repeatedly called for the offer of a state visit for the US President to be withdrawn following his crackdown on immigration from majority-Muslim countries and promotion of far-right group Britain First on Twitter.
The controversy sparked a diplomatic spat between Theresa May and Mr Trump, after the Prime Minister condemned the US President’s actions.
Any possible first trip to the UK by Mr Trump since being elected to the White House is likely to be met with fierce protests.
This week, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson brushed off suggestions a state visit to Britain by Mr Trump should be scrapped.
It followed claims by Michael Wolff, the author of an explosive new book about Mr Trump, that the US President would use a visit to “Trumpalise the Queen and Buckingham Palace”.
Mr Johnson told MPs: “I think Her Majesty the Queen is well capable to of taking this American president – or indeed any American president – in her stride, as she has done over six remarkable decades.
“She has seen them come and she has seen them go.”
In January last year, Mrs May was the first foreign leader to visit Mr Trump in the White House.
More to follow…