Theresa May gives cautious welcome to Trump's trade promise

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has welcomed the "energy and enthusiasm" of President-elect Donald Trump's comments on a US-UK trade deal, but maintained the UK will stick to its obligations as an EU member.

Trump has said that he hopes to rapidly seal a new trading relationship with the UK, with May expected to visit Washington in the Spring.

However, Downing Street today noted that while Trump's comments are welcome, the UK remains unable to sign any new trade deals while it remains an EU member.

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"When the Prime Minister visits the US there will be an opportunity to have discussions on this, but we have also been clear that we will respect our obligations," May's spokeswoman said today, describing any potential talks with the Trump team as "scoping discussions".

Number 10 also played down any concerns that both Conservative backbencher Michael Gove and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage had met with Trump before the Prime Minister.

"We are already establishing good relations," May's spokeswoman said.

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Trump's interview also saw him reveal that May had sent the President-elect a copy of Winston Churchill's address in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour as a Christmas present.

And Downing Street added today it had no concerns over Trump offering to share the Prime Minister's letter with Gove, who conducted the interview.

"I don't think we are going to be concerned that he seem quite happy with his Christmas gift," the spokeswoman said.

Questioned, however, on whether May received a gift from Trump, Downing Street said only that the Prime Minister "didn't give a gift expecting one in return".

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