UK government concedes no official visit by US leader until 2018, the Guardian can reveal, amid claims he has been scared off
Donald Trumps controversial state visit to the UK will now take place next year, leading to claims he has been scared off by the threat of protests.
After months of doubt about the state visit, amid speculation the US president could have made a surprise stopover after last weeks G20 summit, the government has conceded that the official visit will not take place until 2018, the Guardian understands.
But the decision leaves open the possibility of a low-key visit to London before the end of this year if Trump is in Europe on other business.
Protesters were planning to swing into action at short notice at Trumps golf courses in Scotland after a Conservative aide fuelled speculation that the president might make a flying visit, saying: There are currently no plans for him to visit. But his travel plans are a matter for him.
The government had been warned that Trump could visit Turnberry, one of his two golf resorts in Scotland, during his trip to Europe, between attending the G20 summit in Hamburg and joining celebrations for Bastille Day in France on 14 July.
Last month it emerged that Trump told Theresa May in a phone call that he did not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supported him coming. The president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests.
The planned state visit was not mentioned in last months Queens speech, which usually outlines any state visits scheduled for the duration of the parliament.
May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife, Melania, to make a state visit later in the year and was delighted that the president has accepted that invitation.
The invitation has been widely criticised. The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, called on the UK government to cancel the invitation after Trump criticised his response to the London Bridge terrorist attack.
Nick Dearden, the director of campaign group Global Justice Now and part of the Stop Trump coalition, said protesters would be ready for the president whenever he visits.
The fact that Trump has been forced to delay his state visit is testament to the widespread revulsion that large sections of the British public have to the hate-mongering, rightwing populism that he stands for, he said.
He has been scared off for now, but as we have seen from the G20, Theresa May is determined to cosy up to him at every opportunity and is keen to rush headlong into a toxic trade deal with Trump that would be disastrous for the UK public.
Well be ready for Trump and his dangerous, divisive politics next year, and in the meantime well be opposing the free-market fundamentalism that May and her colleagues are trying to cook up in the UK-USA trade deal they are promising.
Sophie Walker, leader of the Womens Equality party, said: The Womens marches held in January demonstrated the strength of feeling against the kind of politics espoused by Trump and his administration. Women turned out in their thousands to show that Trumps casual misogyny and divisive politics have no place here. Without the distraction and expense of a state visit, perhaps our government can now focus on improving the lives of women across the UK.
The outgoing Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, said the delay was a sign of Mays weakness on the international stage. He said: It is hugely embarrassing for the prime minister that even a pariah like Donald Trump no longer wants to be seen with her. He has said he will give May a trade agreement, but she is now too weak to do the deal. She has lost Britain friends in Europe and now her blundering has damaged the so-called special relationship.