LONDON (Reuters) - Nine months after Prime Minister Theresa May invited President Donald Trump for a formal state visit to Britain, no arrangements have yet been made and there is no sign of the visit taking place soon, U.S. and British officials said.
Discussions between Washington and London about a Trump visit have continued, said one official who asked not to be named, but so far the White House has not signalled when and how the president wants to proceed.
May’s invitation to Trump during a visit to Washington a few days after he took office sparked controversy in Britain. Just hours after she left the White House, Trump announced his widely-criticized ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries.
Such is the controversy that some officials on both sides of the Atlantic are privately having second thoughts about the visit, worried about street demonstrations that might greet Trump in London and other British cities.
“There have been signs of relief in some quarters that he has yet to appear on Her Majesty’s schedule,” said a British official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Given Trump’s penchant for showmanship and his pre-presidential visits to the two golf courses he owns in Scotland, many Trump-watchers expected Britain to be one of the first stops on any presidential European tour.
White House representatives told British officials at the time of the invite that Trump had accepted. But a senior U.S. government official told Reuters in July that Trump had no plans to visit Britain in the near future.
A full-scale state visit to Britain involves considerable pomp. Upon arriving in London, the president would be greeted by Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family at a ceremony near the Houses of Parliament.
Some British opponents of Trump including former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband have promised to organise protests should he visit.
“We remain in the same position with the Trump visit – The queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK, it was accepted, and there is no change to those plans. But a date has not been set,” a spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington said.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming President Trump to the UK,” the spokesman added.
U.S. officials, including Trump aides and spokespeople and representatives of the U.S. Embassy in London, did not respond to detailed emails requesting comment.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ralph Boulton