US President Donald Trump is to meet Britain's Theresa May outside London next week to avoid protests as he travels to the UK for a working visit.
Trump will instead meet British Prime Minister Theresa May at her country residence, Chequers. He will also meet the Queen in Windsor.
Trump is scheduled to arrive on Thursday to have dinner with May at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire — the birthplace of Winston Churchill — before retiring for the night at the US Ambassador’s House in Regent’s Park, London. The two leaders will reconvene in the morning to watch a UK military exercise followed by a meeting at Chequers.
He will then travel to Windsor with his wife Melania to meet the Queen before flying to Scotland — where Trump’s mother, Mary, was born — to spend the weekend.
The visit, which will follow Trump’s trip to Brussels for a NATO summit, “will be a great display of the special relationship” between the two countries, Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK said during a press conference.
Hopes of avoiding protests seem unlikely however as Facebook pages show demonstrations are now being organised in Blenheim Palace, Regent’s Park and Chequers.
Local councillors in west Oxfordshire from the opposition Labour Party also wrote in an open letter to Trump that they object to his visit to Blenheim Palace.
“Winston Churchill’s finest hour was to fight all the things you stand for: hate, bigotry, racism and fear,” they wrote.
“We believe his values will win against yours, but until that time, we cannot, in all conscience, welcome you to his birth place or to West Oxfordshire.
“We object to the visit, we oppose it, and we will protest it,” they added.
Thousands are also expected to line the streets of London during the two-day visit.
A giant inflatable figure depicting Trump as a baby will also join the protest on Friday after London Mayor Sadiq Khan granted campaigners the authorisation to fly it.
The helium-filled, six-meter high “Trump Baby” balloon was crowdfunded by campaigners who wanted “to make sure he (Trump) knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him.”
Having raised more money than they needed, campaigners now plan to send the balloon on a world tour “to follow little Donald around the world, haunting his diplomatic engagements wherever he goes,” the crowdfunding page says.
May invited Trump for a state visit when the two met in Washington in January 2017 but the diplomatic move was met with backlash in the UK with MPs and members of the public objecting to it.
A state visit by a foreign leader to the UK is a hugely ceremonial affair involving the royal family and a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
A petition calling for the invite to be rescinded garnered more than 1.8 million signatures, forcing parliament into a debate and the government to issue a statement stating that “the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit.”