Boris Johnson will limit his appearances with US president Donald Trump amid fears that he could cost the prime minister his chances of winning the UK election.
Opinion polls are narrowing ahead of the vote on December 12, with opposition parties all using Trump’s unpopularity in the UK to win votes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that Trump is seeking to include the UK National Health Service as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.
However, Trump insisted on Tuesday that he would not want the NHS “if you handed it to us on a silver platter.”
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LONDON — Boris Johnson will try to have as little contact as possible with Donald Trump during his visit to London for the NATO Summit, amid fears that the US President, who is deeply unpopular in the UK, could blow up the prime minister’s election campaign.
Trump’s previous UK visits have been hugely controversial with large protests on the streets of London against the president. The president’s suggestion, during his visit in June this year, that the National Health Service would be “on the table” in trade talks with the UK have been placed front and centre by the opposition Labour party during this campaign. His criticisms of Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU were also embarrassing for the former prime minister.
With opinion polls narrowing in recent weeks, Johnson’s team are keen to limit any contact with the president this week in order to avoid a similar gaffe. The White House has confirmed the pair have no formal bilateral meetings planned during the 70th anniversary summit, even though the UK is hosting it.
That reflects a fear among Conservative strategists that a near-inevitable intervention on Trump’s part — even one designed to be helpful — could backfire and see their poll lead evaporate ahead of the December 12 election.
One senior official in Johnson’s Conservative party told Politico: “If [Trump] leaves without having caused anybody any damage, we’ll be pretty happy. But the potential for trouble is greater than the potential for any benefit.”
Even without a major misstep, any association with Trump could be damaging. Recent polling by YouGov found that Trump, who has previously described Johnson as a “friend,” is viewed negatively by more than two-thirds of Brits.
Labour is already attempting to capitalise on Trump’s visit by highlighting the risk a UK-US trade deal poses to the NHS.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter on Monday night demanding the US President clarified that “the NHS is genuinely off the table” in future trade talks with Washington.
The Conservatives could face further negative publicity after the family of killed teenager sad they would “make our feelings known” to Donald Trump during his visit.
The teenager was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside an RAF base in the UK in August. The driver of the car was allegedly Anne Sacoolas, wife of a US diplomat, who claimed diplomatic immunity and was allowed to return to the US.
The family, …read more
Source:: Business Insider