Prime Minister pitches trade deal 'opportunity' to Donald Trump
Theresa May last night pressed Donald Trump for a trade deal between Britain and the United States after the American President arrived in the UK hours after he had questioned her Brexit plan.
The Prime Minister used a lavish banquet at Blenheim Palace to tell him there was an "unprecedented" opportunity to do a deal that boosted jobs and growth in both countries.
But her address to Mr Trump at the Oxfordshire stately home - the birthplace of Winston Churchill - followed a Brussels press conference where the US leader highlighted Government divisions over Brexit.
Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed in Air Force One at Stansted Airport at lunchtime yesterday to kick-start a four-day working visit to Britain as protests against his trip began.
Addressing the US President in front of an audience of business leaders and senior ministers, Mrs May said: "As we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more.
"It's an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the UK and right across the United States.
"It's also an opportunity to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic."
Critics of the Prime Minister's proposals for future relations with the EU claim that her willingness to align with Brussels rules on agricultural produce will block a US deal, as Washington is certain to insist on the inclusion of GM crops and hormone-enhanced beef, which are banned in Europe.
Protests took place outside the grounds in Woodstock, with several hundred demonstrators waving banners and placards reading "Dump Trump, Not Welcome Here" and "Protect Children Not Trump".
The Trumps had earlier arrived at Stansted after a stormy Nato summit in Belgium.
The President used a press conference in Brussels to describe the UK as a "hot spot right now with a lot of resignations" and dismissed the Prime Minister's Chequers plan on the next stage of Brexit.
"I would say Brexit is Brexit," he told reporters.
"The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that's what they would do, but maybe they're taking a different route, I don't know if that is what they voted for."
Mr Trump added that it seemed as if the UK was "getting at least partially involved back with the European Union".
"I'd like to see them be able to work it out so it could go quickly," he said.
It comes just days after Mr Trump declined to say whether Mrs May should remain in post, said he had "always liked" Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary over the Chequers agreement, and described the UK as being in "turmoil".