Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK has effectively been put on hold because the US President does not want to come to London until the occasion is backed by the British public, according to reports.
Mr. Trump is said to have told Theresa May in a phone call that the prospect of large-scale protests has put him off the visit.
The phone call is said to have been made within the last few weeks and took the Prime Minister by surprise, The Guardian reported, citing a Downing Street adviser who was present.
Mrs. May invited Mr. Trump to Britain when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House, just days after his inauguration in January.
But the offer sparked an immediate backlash in Britain, with senior diplomats suggesting that the invitation was made too soon. Historically most US Presidents have visited in their second terms or several years into their first term.
Mr. Trump’s state visit had originally been planned to take place this summer, but the announcement of a snap election forced officials to delay it until October.
An online petition was signed by nearly two million people who wanted to block the visit, sparking a debate in parliament but Mrs. May has made clear it will go ahead.
Last week, a high-profile row between London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Mr. Trump was re-ignited by the President’s behavior following the London Bridge terror attack.
Donald Trump slams Sadiq Khan on London terror attack
Mr. Trump attacked Mr. Khan within hours of the atrocity in which eight people were killed, prompting the Mayor to label the President “ignorant” and “wrong”.
Mr. Trump tweeted mockery of Mr. Khan’s appeal to Londoners not to be alarm by an increased police presence on the streets and transport system.
Theresa May finally scolds Donald Trump over Sadiq Khan criticism
Senior former diplomat Lord Ricketts said the official invitation could not be rescinded but should be “left on the table” for the time being. The intervention of the respected life peer - who served as head of the Foreign Office and as Britain’s first National Security Adviser, followed outrage over Mr. Trump’s comments.
Asked if the invite should be torn up, he said: “I think it is hard to rescind it now. I think it can perhaps be left on the table and perhaps activated later.”
He said he was in favor of Trump coming on an ordinary visit “to understand the fiber of this country and see for himself the determination and resilience not to be cowed by these terrorist attacks. But I would leave a state visit for later.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the news, tweeting: "Cancellation of President Trump's State Visit is welcome, especially after his attack on London's mayor & withdrawal from #ParisClimateDeal."