Donald Trump arrives in London tonight (Monday) and senior Tories are alarmed the visit could turn into “a train wreck” for Boris Johnson with just ten days left before the general election.
The US president will be attending the NATO Conference but Conservatives are concerned Trump could become “the most dangerous weapon in the armoury” of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
“Corbyn’s argument is simple,” reports Bloomberg. “Johnson and Trump are right-wing soul mates who collectively pose an unprecedented threat to the UK’s cherished National Health Service.”
‘Trump can’t be trusted’ says senior Tory
During Trump’s state visit in June the president said the NHS would be “on the table” for post-Brexit trade talks during a press conference with Theresa May. Labour immediately seized upon the comments to attack the Conservatives for planning to sell-off the NHS and the issue has become a major theme of the election campaign.
The biggest worry for senior Tories, Bloomberg report, “is that Trump will go off script. One senior official confided that this was the biggest risk facing the election operation. The president can’t be trusted to stop himself weighing in with ill-judged comments, the official said.”
The concerns were endorsed by a cabinet minister while another senior official said “measures were being taken to minimize the risk” without explaining how they will persuade Trump to stay off Twitter and stay on-topic during media briefings.
Trump has been warned not to intervene in the general election but already showed his disdain for protocol and convention when he called in to the radio show hosted by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, on October 31.
During the LBC radio phone-in Trump urged the “fantastic” Johnson to form an electoral pact with Farage and warned listeners that Corbyn would be “bad, so bad” for the UK.
‘PM desperate to keep radioactive Trump at distance’
A White House official told the New York Times that Trump “likes Prime Minister Johnson personally” and that the president was “very conscious of the fact that we do not interfere” in other country’s elections.
The New York Times added that Johnson “has been desperate to keep Mr Trump at a distance” during the election given the president is “radioactive to many” of the PM’s supporters.
Royal affair for NATO leaders
Trump and other world leaders will attend a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, hosted by senior members of the royal family, although Prince Andrew will not be in attendance.
After photos with the Queen and Prince Charles, the leaders will attend a reception hosted by Boris Johnson at Downing Street.
On Wednesday the NATO heads will congregate at the luxury five star Grove Hotel (complete with golf course and spa) in Hertfordshire for a scheduled three hour session during which each leader will be given four minutes to speak.
Protests planned by NHS workers
NHS doctors, nurses and other workers will march from Trafalgar Square on Tuesday evening to protest outside Buckingham Palace.