Donald Trump has cancelled a visit to Britain next month to open the new US embassy in London amid fears of mass protests.
The American president claimed on Twitter that his reason for calling off the trip was his displeasure at Barack Obama having sold the current embassy for “peanuts” and built a replacement for $1.2bn. “Bad deal,” he wrote.
But the embassy’s plan to move from Mayfair to Nine Elms in London was first reported in October 2008 – when George W Bush was still president and Obama had not yet been elected.
Theresa May invited Trump for a state visit when she became the first world leader to visit the president in the White House a year ago.
With activists pledging to stage mass protests and MPs determined not to give the president the opportunity to address parliament, no date for a state visit has been set.
Instead, it had been expected that Trump would make a brief, less formal “working visit” next month, to cut the ribbon on the $1bn (£750m) embassy in Nine Elms, south-west London, and hold meetings with May.
Officials had been examining plans for the president to meet the Queen, without the pomp of a full-blown state banquet, with the attendant risk of disruptive protests.