Prime Minister admits G7 was difficult after Trump remains at odds with allies over Russia and tariffs

 
Catherine Neilan
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Theresa May Seeks Queen's Permission To Form A UK Government
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The G7 summit was "difficult, with some very candid discussions", the Prime Minister has admitted, after Donald Trump left the Quebec meeting early.

The US President, who also arrived late to a meeting about gender equality, posted a series of angry tweets directed at his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, slamming him for being "weak" and saying he had instructed his officials not to sign the official communique.

But speaking to the Commons this afternoon, Theresa May said she still believed the forum played an important role, telling MPs "it is only through continued dialogue that we can find ways to work together to resolve the challenges we face".

May was asked bluntly by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable what point there was in the G7, but May pointed to a number of achievements made during the summit.

During her statement, she confirmed that the countries had agreed to establish a new rapid response mechanism to share intelligence, co-ordinate action and develop new strategies to tackle the "growing threat" posed by Russia.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will also now have the powers to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks.

"We all agreed in our discussions and our communique that we need to maintain sanctions on Russia in light of its failure to fully implement the Minsk Agreements in Ukraine, and that we stand ready to take further restrictive measures if necessary," May said.

However Trump was at odds with many of the other global leaders, suggesting Russia be re-admitted to the group. He was also at odds with them over tariffs.

May told MPs: "Multilateral action is the right way to achieve this. It cannot be done by taking unilateral action against your partners.

"We expressed deep disappointment at the unjustified decision of the United States to apply tariffs to steel and aluminium imports. The loss of trade through tariffs undermines competition, reduces productivity, removes the incentive to innovate – and ultimately makes everyone poorer. And in response, the EU will impose countermeasures.

"But we need to avoid a continued tit-for-tat escalation. That is why it was right that we had such an open and direct discussion at this summit."

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