UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said Donald Trump was “wrong” to retweet posts from a British far-right group. But she stressed the “special relationship” between Britain and the US was “in both our nations’ interests” and should continue.
And she rejected calls to cancel a state visit by the US president.
Speaking on a visit to Jordan, she said: “An invitation for a state visit has been extended and has been accepted. We have yet to set a date.”
Quizzed about Mr Trump’s tweets, she said: “The fact that we work together does not mean that we’re afraid to say when we think the United States has got it wrong, and be very clear with them.
“And I’m very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.”
On Wednesday the US president retweeted three videos posted by the British far-right group.
When a Downing Street spokesman said he had been “wrong” to do so the president hit back:
The US and the UK are close allies and often described as having a “special relationship”. Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit the Trump White House.
The row was raised in the House of Commons on Thursday morning with Home Secretary Amber Rudd saying she hoped Mrs May’s criticism “would have some impact on the president”.
Responding to a call by MP Peter Bone for the president to delete his Twitter account, she said: “It’s interesting to note [Mr Bone’s] advice regarding Twitter accounts – I’m sure many of us might share his view.”
Former Conservative minister Tim Loughton said if Twitter was “genuine in its commitment to fight hate crime online” it would delete the US president’s account.
Veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn asked whether Mr Trump should be “charged with inciting racial hatred” if he comes to the UK, a view echoed by fellow Labour MP Naz Shah.
The UK’s opposition party is Labour – their foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 5 live that Donald Trump was “not America” and the government should “ignore” and “work round him”.
The videos shared by Mr Trump, who has more than 40 million followers, were initially posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a group founded by former members of the far-right British National Party.
Ms Fransen, 31, has been charged in the UK with using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” over speeches she made at a rally in Belfast.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the senior bishop in the Church of England, said it was “deeply disturbing” that Mr Trump had “chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists”.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said Mr Trump had “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me”, adding: “He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan repeated his call the state visit to be cancelled, saying: “It beggars belief that the president of our closest ally doesn’t see that his support of this extremist group actively undermines the values of tolerance and diversity that makes Britain so great.”
After already condemning Mr Trump’s actions on Wednesday, Brendan Cox – whose wife, MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a right-wing extremist who shouted “Britain first” before committing the act – told the US president to focus on problems in his own country.
Britain’s ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, said he had raised concerns about the president’s tweets with the White House. BBC