Two days after a friendship-forging meeting with Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday discreetly distanced herself from the US president as anger over his immigration restrictions mounted. Downing Street said May does “not agree” with the restrictions and would intervene if they affected British nationals.
May had sparked controversy on Saturday after refusing to condemn Trump’s executive order as she was being pressed by journalists during a trip to Turkey. “Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government,” a spokesman from her office said on Sunday.
“But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. If there is any impact on UK nationals then clearly we will make representations to the US government about that.” Theresa May Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went further, saying it was “divisive and wrong to stigmatise because of nationality.”
The first foreign leader to meet Trump since his arrival in the White House, May discussed with the new president the possibility of quickly putting in place a trade agreement between the two countries after Britain’s exit from the EU. Shortly after their talks, Trump signed an executive order to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough new controls on travellers from seven Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Sudan.