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Protests planned as Trump set to pay return UK visit in December for Nato summit

By Sam Blewett and Julie Pace

Donald Trump is expected to return to the UK in December for a Nato summit, prompting fresh plans for protests against the US President.

The controversial leader, who has repeatedly clashed with the military alliance, will meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced yesterday.

It will be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid numerous protests last July and leaving behind a policing bill of more than £14m.

Mr Stoltenberg said that "allies have agreed" that the next Nato heads of state and government summit will be held in London in December.

Theresa May "looks forward to welcoming all Nato leaders", her official spokesman said when asked about Mr Trump's next visit.

In a statement the Prime Minister said the meeting will be an important moment in deciding how to "modernise" the alliance in the year of its 70th anniversary.

A date and venue is yet to be determined but the President's UK critics quickly eyed-up the opportunity to protest.

The Liberal Democrats said they will be "front and centre to protest his visit", while the Green Party tweeted "we'll be there to greet him", adding a defiant gesture. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament pledged to organise London protests against "Trump's nuclear warmongering", as well as against Nato.

Mrs May's spokesman made clear that any visit by the US President for the Nato summit was separate from the planned state visit by Mr Trump, for which no date has yet been fixed. Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against Nato as he successfully pressured allies to pledge billions more in defence spending.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has called on Washington to reject "the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution" as he faced a divided Congress for the first time.

Mr Trump, who has spent two years levelling fiercely personal attacks on his Democratic rivals, declared that it was time "to bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future".

He warned emboldened Democrats that "ridiculous partisan investigations" into his administration and businesses could hamper a surging US economy.

Speaking at a critical moment in his presidency, Mr Trump sought to shore up Republican support and previewed a fresh defence against Democrats as they ready a round of investigations into every aspect of his administration.

"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," he declared.

Looming over the President's address was a fast-approaching February 15 deadline to fund the government and avoid another shutdown.

Democrats have refused to acquiesce to his demands for a border wall, and Republicans are increasingly unwilling to shut down the government to help him fulfil his signature campaign pledge.

Wary of publicly highlighting those intra-party divisions, Mr Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks, though he did offer a lengthy defence of his call for a border wall. But he delivered no ultimatums about what it would take for him to sign legislation to keep the government open.

He announced details of a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, outlining a summit on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam. The two met last summer in Singapore, though that meeting only led to a vaguely worded commitment by the North to denuclearise.

Belfast Telegraph

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