News ID: 265649
Published: 0601 GMT February 14, 2020

Boris Johnson cancelled trip to White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him

Boris Johnson cancelled trip to White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him

Prime Minister Johnson had been due to visit Washington shortly after his election victory in December, however, the visit has been postponed many times over disagreements between the two leaders regarding Iran, Huawei and the extradition of Anne Sacoolas, the CIA agent accused of killing British teenager, Harry Dunn, in a Northamptonshire road accident.

Ms Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, who it has been revealed is also a CIA asset, was granted diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy, Presstv Reported.

She was charged with causing Mr. Dunn's death by dangerous driving in December.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected an extradition request from the UK for her last month.

The disagreements, following a series of high-profile threats from Trump and a series of pointed interventions against Trump by Johnson and senior members of his government, having gradually gained mass, resulted in a furious phone call from the president last month after which he hung up on Johnson, according to officials with knowledge of the conversation.

 

The call, which one source described to the Financial Times as "very difficult," came after Johnson defied Trump and allowed Chinese telecoms company Huawei the rights to develop the UK's 5G network.

Mr. Trumps ire was set off by Johnson backing Huawei while disregarding threats by Trump and his allies that the United States would withdraw security co-operation with the UK if the deal went ahead.

Trump’s threats reportedly "irritated" the UK government, with Johnson frustrated at the president's failure to suggest any alternatives to the deal.

 

The prime minister had been one of Trump's few close international allies, with the president labelling Johnson "fantastic," a "good man" and "Britain Trump."

The PM has cancelled the scheduled trip next month and is not planning a US visit until the G7 summit in June and would instead be concentrating his efforts on domestic agenda in the months ahead.

"When the Eye of Sauron is off the Whitehall machine, things stop working," one source told the Sun Newspaper.

"That is why he has stripped down all his foreign travel this year to get his agenda done."

Although the cancellation was not intended as a snub to the US president, it may be seen that way in Washington ahead of trade deal talks both sides want to complete as soon as possible. 

Following the call, US Vice President, Mike Pence, said that the Trump administration had made its disappointment at the UK "very clear to them".

Downing Street insists that Mr Johnson is '’currently focused on the UK domestic agenda and... Levelling up for the British people'’. 

Boris Johnson stood up to Washington once again on Wednesday, claiming UK's extradition arrangements with the US are 'imbalanced' and suggesting they need to be reviewed.

 
 
   
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