As she vows to renew the Special Relationship, is Theresa May right to be cosying up to Donald Trump?

Theresa May Leaves Downing Street For PMQ's
The right relationship matters more in a post-Brexit worls (Source: Getty)

Harriet Maltby, head of policy research, Prosperity Index at the Legatum Institute, says Yes.

Allies never agree on everything; time to stop pretending that Theresa May’s desire to build a good relationship with Donald Trump means accepting every decision he makes. It is not May’s job to moralise in public about Trump’s choices, it is her job to get the best for Britain. From economic to military cooperation, the Special Relationship matters to the UK. May is right to try and bolster it, particularly so early in a presidency. We export more to the US than any other country and it is one of our biggest import markets outside the EU. Intelligence cooperation is vital to the security of both nations. These things matter in a post-Brexit world. Whether we like it or not, Trump is America’s democratically elected President and the strong relationship with America matters. Those who object to the “cosying up” should be glad. It is in a strong and respectful relationship that concerns about things like women’s rights can be effectively expressed.

Jon McLeod, chairman of UK corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick, says No.

Theresa May is making a mistake cosying up to Donald Trump. She should ask herself first if she wants to be strategically aligned with Trump. If we are too close, Trump’s foreign policy could draw Britain into the use of torture, or into confrontation with China over the South China Sea. If our goal is security and stability, an alliance with an unpredictable President could create more uncertainty and damage Britain’s international reputation. The Prime Minister should also ask herself if the UK should be economically aligned with the United States. A trade deal would be great news, but we shouldn’t expect sudden results. Trump may play ball in order to send a message to Europe, but an actual deal might never be consummated. The President is fundamentally a protectionist, and won the election campaigning against free trade. We may well be headed for the front of the queue, but we may idle quite a while if the queue stands still.

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