Nottingham

Newark MP Robert Jenrick going to Donald Trump inauguration

Robert Jenrick tweet: "Fascinating to be in DC next week & pleased to be meeting Bob Lighthizer, incoming Trade Representative to push for a UK-US free trade deal" Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Robert Jenrick tweeted a picture of his invitation to next week's Presidential inauguration in Washington DC

Newark MP Robert Jenrick has been criticised after he announced he will be attending Donald Trump's inauguration as US President.

The Conservative MP told the Newark Advertiser he would probably be the only UK MP at the event next week.

Mr Jenrick, 35, who has represented the Nottinghamshire constituency since 2014, said he would also be meeting trade representative Bob Lighthizer.

Critics on Twitter said the trip was "horrifying" and "disgusting".

In a tweet, Mr Jenrick, a ministerial aide to Justice Secretary Liz Truss, said: "Fascinating to be in DC next week & pleased to be meeting Bob Lighthizer, incoming Trade Representative to push for a UK-US free trade deal."

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Twitter user Zapsi replied: "it's honestly disgusting that you think the best way to represent your constituents is to cosy up to trump and pence".

While another, called Mr Smith, wrote: "i think the word you require is 'horrifying' not 'fascinating'."

Analysis - Peter Saull, BBC Nottingham political reporter

Robert Jenrick is the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international trade and said he would be the first British MP to meet the incoming US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.

As part of the visit to Washington DC, the Newark MP has accepted an invitation to the inauguration ceremony.

This has prompted criticism on social media, with some people accusing him up of "cosying up" to the President-elect.

Mr Jenrick has told me, however, that his presence at the inauguration isn't an "endorsement" of Donald Trump.

He said he's always believed in the importance of the "special relationship" and the need to build bridges with the new American administration, particularly post-Brexit.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Robert Jenrick believes he will be the only UK MP to attend Donald Trump's inauguration DC next Friday

Mr Jenrick told his local paper, the Newark Advertiser, that while Mr Trump might not be everyone's first choice as president, "we have to work with his administration".

"I hope to persuade Mr Lighthizer that the UK should be at the front of the queue for a free trade deal rather than at the back of it as President Obama threatened on the eve of the (Brexit) referendum," Mr Jenrick added.

Mr Jenrick was elected as MP for Newark in a by-election in June 2014 after Patrick Mercer resigned in disgrace, and won the seat with an increased majority at the general election of 2015.

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