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Trump: UK is in "turmoil"

PUBLISHED: 13:45 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:41 10 July 2018

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Donald Trump has looked ahead to his trip to the UK this week, saying the country is in "turmoil" and it is "up to the people" whether or not Theresa May remains prime minister.

The US president will have also delighted Mrs May by saying that he might take time during his UK visit to speak with former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who he described as "a friend of mine".

Speaking as he prepared to depart for a European trip in which he will meet the prime minister at the Nato summit in Brussels and then make his first visit to the UK as president, Mr Trump insisted he got along with Mrs May "very well".

It had previously been reported that Mr Trump had grown frustrated with Theresa May's “school mistress” tone.

Answering questions from reporters on the lawn of the White House as he and his wife Melania prepared to board the Marine One presidential helicopter, Mr Trump said that the UK "certainly has a lot of things going on".

"It's going to be an interesting time in the UK and an interesting time at Nato," he said. "We will work it out and all countries will be happy.

"So I have Nato, I have the UK - which is in somewhat turmoil."

Referring to Monday's planned summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Mr Trump added: "And I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all."

Asked whether Mrs May should be replaced as prime minister, the US president replied: "Well that's up to the people. I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship. That's certainly up to the people, not up to me."

Mr Trump said he had not spoken with Mrs May, adding: "Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He's been very, very nice to me, very supportive. Maybe I'll speak to him when I get over there.

"I like Boris Johnson, I've always liked him."

Mr Trump repeated his demands for the EU to lower barriers to US imports and for America's Nato allies to pay more towards their own defence.

"We do have a lot of allies, but we can't be taken advantage of," he said. "We are being taken advantage of by the EU.

"We lost $151bn dollars last year on trade and on top of that, we spend at least 70% to Nato and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us.

"So we will see what happens, we have a long, beautiful week."

Labour MP Madeleine Moon, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said Mr Trump's comments were "a wake up call and a look into the future we face if Brexit goes ahead".

She said: "We have a tight relationship with our allies in the EU, yet this government is tearing us away from them just as Trump is making a mockery of our so-called special relationship.

"That's why I back a people's vote on the terms of Brexit, including an option to remain in the EU."

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