UK

Donald Trump's UK visit: The 'end of an era' for Theresa May

Donald Trump and Theresa May shake hands during a joint press conference Image copyright Getty Images

Theresa May's news conference with Donald Trump had an "end of era" feel to it.

Only days before she stands down as the Conservatives' leader, the prime minister set out clear positions she hoped may survive her premiership.

On Iran, the UK and US agree on the threat but disagree on the solution, and the US must "do everything to avoid escalation which is in no-one's interest".

On China, she said both sides cannot ignore the threat to their interests, but they must also recognise the country's "economic significance" - a clear warning against a lasting US trade war with Beijing.

On the transatlantic relationship, she emphasised she and the president were only "the latest guardians of this precious and profound friendship". In other words, she is going and so one day will he, and the relationship will endure.

In a sentence Mr Trump could never repeat, she said: "I have always believed that co-operation and compromise are the basis of strong alliances."

As for the president, he kept the bombast to a minimum.

On Britain's future relationship with the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, he seemed reassured, saying "we are going to be able to work out any differences" and "we will have no problem with that".

On Brexit, he was more supportive of Mrs May than in his weekend newspaper interviews, saying the prime minister "has brought it to a very good point" and "she has done a very good job".

And on a future trade deal, the president generated headlines by confirming the NHS would be part of the negotiations.

As for Jeremy Corbyn, the president said he had refused a request to meet the Labour leader, dismissing him as "a negative force", clearly believing this is not a man he is likely to have to work with any time soon.

Yes, there were gags. The president teased Mrs May about not suing the EU during the Brexit talks.

He also joked about who might be a suitable successor in Downing Street.

But the mood was more low key than high drama.

More on this story