Days ahead of his first official state visit to the United Kingdom, President Donald Trump has spoken in favor of the pro-Brexit contender Boris Johnson as possible successor to Prime Minister Theresa May. The former British Foreign Secretary, Johnson, is an “excellent” choice to succeed May who is set to set down on June 7.

“I have actually studied it very hard. I know the different players,” he told the British newspaper The Sun. “But I think Boris would do a good job.”

On Monday, President Trump starts off his three-day visit of the UK which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day.

UK daily the Sun reported President Trump’s remarks:

The US President spoke glowingly of the ex-Foreign Secretary in a world exclusive interview with The Sun ahead of his three-day state visit to London, starting on Monday. (…)

While stopping short of offering his full endorsement, Mr Trump told The Sun: “It’s something that I find very interesting.

“I actually have studied it very hard. I know the different players.

“But I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent.”

The President added: “I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.

He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Though there are eleven candidates in the fray to replace Prime Minister May as the leader of the Conservative party, Johnson is widely regarded as the frontrunner.

The former UK Environment Minister and the prominent pro-Brexit campaigner, Michael Gove, is seen as his main rival for the post. The serving Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and UK’s top Brexit negotiator with Brussels, Dominic Raab, are also regarded by pundits as potential replacements.

The Conservative Party’s parliamentary group is yet to pick two lead candidates who will then be put to vote by some 120,000 Conservative Party members.

In a separate interview, Trump called on the UK to leave the European Union with or without a deal and told the  British government to send the Brexit party leader Nigel Farage to negotiate. “Don’t pay Brexit bill unless EU backs down,” London’s Sunday Times quoted him saying.

Farage’s Brexit party won the recent EU parliament election in the UK, comfortably beating May’s Conservatives and the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party. The newspaper reported the excerpts of the interview:

Donald Trump today calls on Britain to send Nigel Farage to negotiate with Brussels and pursue a no-deal Brexit if the EU refuses to give Britain what it wants.

In an interview with The Sunday Times ahead of his state visit to the UK this week, the American president said the next prime minister should refuse to pay the £39bn Brexit divorce bill and “walk away” if Brussels does not bow to Britain’s demands.

Trump said that it was not too late for Britain to follow his advice and “sue” the EU to give Britain greater “ammunition” in the talks.

Miserably failing at delivering the verdict of the June 2016 Brexit referendum, there are little signs that the May’s government will heed Trump’s advice.

London was even trying to bar Farage from meeting the visiting U.S. President, local newspapers said. “A Washington source told [Farage] Downing Street wanted to stop him meeting Trump.” The Guardian reported.

“Isn’t it absolutely bizarre? Doesn’t it sum up why British politics needs to change? The small-minded pettiness,” Farage told the Daily Express. “I supported him publicly, I speak to him occasionally on the phone, but I was told it was not to happen,” he added.

Day’s ahead of the state visit, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, attacked the U.S. President likening him to ‘a 20th-century fascist.’

President Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat,” Khan wrote in the weekly The Observer. “The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than 70 years.”

Khan, who lobbied the government to open the UK borders to the refugees in 2015, has presided over a worsening crime situation in London eversince. “Knife crime has increased by 52 per cent, burglary by 17 per cent and robbery by 59 per cent. Last year there were 135 homicides – a 24 per cent increase since 2016 and the highest number for more than a decade,” The Sun reported earlier this week.

The Labour party leader Corbyn was boycotting the banquet at the Buckingham Palace in honour of President Trump.

Some MPs of his party were expected to “join protests against ‘racist and sexist’ US president,” The Indepedent reported. “Thousands of protesters are expected to throng the streets of the capital to voice their opposition to Trump, with a massive rally planned for Trafalgar Square on Tuesday,” the British newspaper added.

President Trumps remarks are a stinging blow to the UK political establishment still refusing to come to terms with the outcome of the EU election that saw an exodus of voters leaving the Britian’s main Conservative and Labour base in favor of Farage’s Brexit party. Unlike May, who openly campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU ahead of the 2016 referendum, Johnson, one of the lead campaigner for Britain leaving the bloc, has a much credible record when it comes to negotiating a Brexit deal with Brussels.


[Cover image via YouTube]

 
 
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