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Donald Trump set to meet Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove

The US President has already indicated he backs Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister but will meet his rival Mr Gove.

(left to right) Philip May and Prime Minister Theresa May welcoming US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Downing Street, London, on the second day of his state visit to the UK.
(left to right) Philip May and Prime Minister Theresa May welcoming US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Downing Street, London, on the second day of his state visit to the UK.

Donald Trump is set to hold talks with Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove in the latest surprise move of his state visit.

The US President praised Mr Gove’s leadership rival Boris Johnson in the run-up to his visit, but his team have requested a meeting with the Environment Secretary.

A source close to the Environment Secretary told the Press Association: “Mr Gove was asked last night by Mr Trump’s team if he would be able to meet the president today. He said yes.

“Nothing has been fixed yet.”

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Michael Gove, who was at the state banquet on Monday night, was invited to a meeting by members of Donald Trump’s team (Victoria Jones/PA)

The source indicated the meeting was likely to be on a one-to-one basis, which could prove embarrassing to Theresa May as her talks with the president are likely to involve senior ministers and officials rather than just the two leaders.

Ahead of the trip, Mr Trump had indicated he might meet Mr Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Sources close to the Brexit Party leader refused to be drawn on whether he would meet the president.

Mr Johnson’s team said they had “nothing to add”, having previously said he has received no correspondence from the White House about a meeting.

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A 16ft talking robot of US President Donald Trump sitting on a gold toilet in Trafalgar Square

A “Trump baby” blimp and a 16ft talking robot of Mr Trump sitting on a gold toilet are in Whitehall ahead of Downing Street talks between the PM and president which are expected to focus on role of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the 5G next generation communications network.

Earlier on day two of Mr Trump’s state visit, the president and Mrs May hosted round table talks with business leaders at St James’ Palace attended by the Duke of York, senior ministers, officials and senior representatives of five US and five British firms.

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Prime Minister Theresa May (2nd right) and US President Trump (3rd left) hold a Business Breakfast Meeting at St James’s Palace

Mr Trump said the the US was already the UK’s largest trading partner and that he believed there was scope for further expansion.

And Mrs May said that there were “huge opportunities” for Britain and the US to work together in the future.

“It is a great partnership but I think a partnership we can take even further. Of course that is with a good bilateral trade deal,” she told the US president.

But while the PM hosts Mr Trump, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will be gearing up to address demonstrators “in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country”.

The Labour leader, who refused an invitation to Monday evening’s state banquet, is due to be joined by other political parties including members of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

A huge police and security operation is under way, with protesters barred from demonstrating directly outside Downing Street and road closures in place.

Across the UK, protests in Birmingham, Stoke, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Chester, Leicester, Oxford and Exeter are also planned.

The US leader said on Monday he had only seen “tremendous crowds of well wishers” and that he expected “fake news” would be “working hard” to find protesters.

It comes after a day of pomp and ceremony as Mr Trump was welcomed by the Queen and lunched at Buckingham Palace with senior royals.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Trump and the First Lady will host a reciprocal dinner at Winfield House – the official residence of Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK – in Regent’s Park, which will be attended by Charles and Camilla, who will represent the Queen.

PA

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