UK rules out making Nigel Farage the British ambassador to Washington despite Trump’s backing
After US President-elect Donald Trump said many people would like to see Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage as British ambassador to Washington, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office pointedly ruled out such a move.
“There is no vacancy,” a Downing Street spokesman said when asked about Trump’s remark on Tuesday. “We already have an excellent ambassador to the US.”
Farage, one of the leaders of the successful referendum fight for Britain to leave the European Union, spoke at a Trump rally during the US election campaign.
Earlier, Trump tweeted that Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage “would do a great job” as British ambassador to the US, in the latest unorthodox intervention from the president-elect.
The decision on who is appointed to represent the United Kingdom in Washington is a matter for the British government, but that did not stop the controversial property-mogul-turned-world-leader from weighing in on social media.
“Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States,” Trump said on his Twitter account. “He would do a great job!”
Farage met recently with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York. “It was a great honour to spend time with @realDonaldTrump,” Farage tweeted at the time, posting a photo of the pair standing before a gilded doorway. “He was relaxed and full of good ideas. I’m confident he will be a good President.”
During the divisive US presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly compared his presidential bid to the Brexit referendum in which a majority of Britons voted to split from the EU.
Trump’s call on Twitter is unusual – ambassadors are appointed by the governments they represent, not by the administration of the country in which they serve.
Britain is keen to build bridges with Trump after many leading government figures criticised the president-elect during his successful election campaign. London is also interested in sounding out a US trade deal as it plots its departure from the European Union. Queen Elizabeth could host Trump within months of him becoming United States president, with the British government confirming on Monday that it was considering a state visit next year.
Royal officials said that the government was responsible for organising state visits, and a spokeswoman for May said that the proposal was “under consideration”.
Trump told May that he was a “big fan of the Queen” when the pair spoke by telephone following his victory, and is also reported to have told Farage that his late mother Mary would be “chuffed to bits when I meet the Queen”. Britain will not issue an invitation to a president-elect, but is expected to make its move shortly after Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
Reuters, Agence France-Presse