Donald Trump tells Theresa May: UK is special place

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Donald Trump and Theresa May (composite image)Image source, Reuters

US President-elect Donald Trump has invited Theresa May to visit Washington in a phone call in which both stressed the importance of UK/US relations.

Downing St said Mr Trump had spoken of his close connections with the UK while Mrs May congratulated him on his win.

Mr Trump, whose mother was Scottish, said the UK was a "very, very special place for me and for our country".

Boris Johnson has urged Mr Trump's critics to stop the "whinge-o-rama" and be "positive about the possibilities".

Mr Trump has contacted a number of world leaders in the wake of his surprise victory in the US presidential race, including those of Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan and South Korea. Mrs May is thought to have been the ninth leader he called.

Downing Street confirmed that Mr Trump and Mrs May had since spoken on Thursday and had agreed that "the US-UK relationship was very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both".

"President-elect Trump set out his close and personal connections with, and warmth for, the UK. He said he was confident that the special relationship would go from strength to strength."

'Stood together'

It went on to say that Mrs May had stressed her commitment to expanding the UK's relationships around the world following the Brexit vote and noted Mr Trump's acceptance speech commitment to uniting people across America - something she said all politicians should focus on globally.

"The prime minister said that we have a long history of shared values and added that she looked forward to that continuing in the future.

"She highlighted her wish to strengthen bilateral trade and investment with the US as we leave the EU. But she said that our relationship is so much more than that and our two countries have always stood together as close allies when it counts the most.

Media caption,

Jacob Rees-Mogg says a Trump win was better for the UK, Ed MIliband says he's delusional

"President-elect Trump strongly agreed and added that the UK is a 'very, very special place for me and for our country'."

Mr Trump ended the call by inviting Mrs May to visit him "as soon as possible", Downing Street added.

'Deal maker'

Meanwhile UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was time to be "overwhelmingly positive about the possibilities" of a Donald Trump presidency.

"I would respectfully say to my beloved European friends and colleagues that it's time that we snapped out of the general doom and gloom about the result of this election and collective 'whinge-o-rama' that seems to be going on in some places."

He said Mr Trump had had a "very good conversation" with Mrs May and was "a deal maker; he wants to do a free trade deal".

"And I believe that this is a great opportunity for us in the UK to build on that relationship with America that is of fundamental economic importance to us, but also, great importance for the stability and prosperity of the world."

Earlier his cabinet colleague Chancellor Philip Hammond was asked what it meant for the US/UK "special relationship" that Mr Trump had spoken to other world leaders before the UK's prime minister.

He replied: "The special relationship is alive and well and strong and deep... what's special about the special relationship between the UK and the US is that it is not a relationship between any two people or the holders of any two offices, it's a very deep relationship that works at many levels."

Media caption,

Iain Duncan Smith: Trump's win is a 'real opportunity'

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told BBC Two's Newsnight that he believed there was a "real opportunity" for the UK to "reinvigorate" its relationship with the US, arguing it had been "in the freezer now for about eight years".

"I think there's a real opportunity with Donald Trump there for us to be able to reinvigorate that relationship. Brexit means we are now freer to make arrangements.

"He's already said he would want to see some kind of agreement with the UK and from that, we can build - whether its' Nato or whether it's global relations, whether it's about arguing over WTO and trade."

Earlier, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC's World at One he saw both Brexit and Mr Trump's election as a "triumph of optimism for people in America, who believe in the American Dream and believed that the liberal elite were taking it away from them" while in the UK he believed it was "about feeling that the UK could stand on its own two feet".

But former Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I think we should be deeply worried about the implications for many of the things that we care about ... tackling climate change .. dealing with problems in the Middle East ... his attitude to Russia."