Thursday 26 April 2018

Downing Street rejects call for Farage to be US ambassador

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage (file photo)
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage (file photo)

Michael Wilkinson London

Nigel Farage has hit out at the "cesspit" of politics as Downing Street rejected Donald Trump's calls for the interim Ukip leader to become Britain's next ambassador to the United States.

In a surprising tweet, which has raised eyebrows in the UK, Mr Trump made the recommendation to his almost 16 million followers on Monday night.

In response, Mr Farage said: "I'm very flattered by the comments and I have said since I met the president-elect that I would like to do anything I can to act in a positive way to help relationships between our two countries."

However, the news was greeted with a quick riposte from No 10, which insisted it was for Britain to decide who served as its ambassador to the United States.

"You have an ambassador who only took up his post earlier this year," a spokesman said. "He is doing a great job. We have chosen our ambassador and there is no vacancy."

British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman reiterated the government's position that there should be "no third party" in the relationship with the United States.

"We are believers in free speech in Britain, but we've got a very good ambassador - Kim Darroch - and he's going to be there for some years," Brexit Secretary David Davis said.

"People can say what they like. The simple truth is there's no vacancy. This is an ambassador who is very, very good, as we've seen already, and he will be there for years."

As Mrs May greeted Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel outside Number 10, she ignored repeated questions from the media regarding Mr Farage.

"Like a bolt from the blue, Trump tweeted out that I would do a great job as the UK's Ambassador to Washington," the acting Ukip leader said in an article for the right-wing blog Breitbart.

"I can still scarcely believe that he did that, though speaking to a couple of his long-time friends perhaps I am a little less surprised.

"They all say the same thing: that mr Trump is a very loyal man and supports those that stand by him.

"It is called trust and it is how the whole world of business operates. Sadly, the cesspit that is career politics understands nothing of this. In their world, the concept of trust is transitory.

"The political revolution of 2016 now sees a new order in charge of Washington. In the United Kingdom, the people have spoken but the players at the top have, I am afraid, stayed the same.

"Those who supported Remain now hold senior positions. Worst still, those who were openly abusive about Mr Trump now pretend to be his friend."

He added in a tweet that he was in a "good position" to help relations.

Former Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe said: "I think Donald Trump has obviously got his own views on how he has a relationship with Britain. He obviously gets on very well with Nigel.

"Whether Nigel would make a good ambassador would be really up to the two governments being able to decide whether he could actually carry out government policy. I don't know - seems we are in a changing world."

Mr Trump appears to be revelling in ripping up the rule book. It is highly unusual for an incoming president to suggest ambassadors from other countries.

The president-elect's proposal is also unlikely to be well received in Washington, where Mr Darroch, the current British ambassador, has been in the job only since February.

Irish Independent

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