Belfast Telegraph

Trudeau hails UK-Canada friendship as London Mayor Khan visits North America

Justin Trudeau has hailed the "strong and close friendship" between the UK and Canada as he met Sadiq Khan at the start of the London Mayor's tour of North America.

The Canadian prime minister sat down with Mr Khan in Montreal ahead of a global progress summit and praised Mr Khan's "outstanding" leadership.

Mr Trudeau said: "It's such a pleasure to sit down with the Mayor of London. It's an opportunity to talk about the strong and close friendship Canada has with the UK and the many shared interests, but more specially how important London is to the global economy.

"And also for the story we're trying to tell about diversity and inclusion. I know Sadiq's leadership on this has been outstanding and I look forward to getting into some topics that are near and dear to me."

Mr Khan described the Canadian PM as a "friend" and said his election victory last year "inspired those of us who are progressives".

"We learnt from your positive campaign, reaching out, enthused and energised," he said.

"I told my daughter I was going to meet a rock star in Canada, so if you know how to reach Justin Bieber let us know," he joked.

Mr Khan is embarking on a five-day tour of North America to show the capital is "open for business" in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

He is visiting Montreal before travelling to Chicago and New York in a bid to promote London as a "key destination for investment, business and tourism", the mayor's office said.

He will also stress the importance of "building bridges rather than walls" - a reference to US presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Mr Khan was involved in a spat with Mr Trump earlier this year over the Republican's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US. The mayor criticised Mr Trump's "ignorant" view of Islam, with the billionaire tycoon responding by calling Mr Khan's remarks "rude" and "nasty".

Ahead of the trip, Mr Khan said: "In the wake of Brexit it is hugely important that we strengthen London's ties with other major cities. The key theme I will take into every meeting on this visit is that London is and always will remain open for business."

In New York, the mayor will be introduced to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to discuss plans to bring games to London, and throw the first pitch at a New York Mets game.

He will also visit the Clinton Global Initiative during its annual meeting, where he is expected to be joined on stage by Chelsea Clinton.