Theresa May to be first foreign leader to meet President Trump

By Ben Riley-Smith, Christopher Hope

President Donald Trump has taken to calling Prime Minister Theresa May "my Maggie" in reference to the close Thatcher-Reagan relationship he wants to recreate, according to sources. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump has taken to calling Prime Minister Theresa May "my Maggie" in reference to the close Thatcher-Reagan relationship he wants to recreate, according to sources. Photo / AP

Donald Trump is planning a new deal for Britain this week as Theresa May becomes the first foreign leader to meet him since the inauguration.

With hundreds of thousands of people across the world protesting his presidency, Trump's team was working with Number 10 to finalise plans for White House talks.

Trump has even taken to calling May "my Maggie" in reference to the close Thatcher-Reagan relationship he wants to recreate, according to sources.

The historic trip comes as:

• A deal to reduce barriers between American and British banks through a new "passporting" system was being considered by Trump's team.

• A US-UK "working group" was being prepared to identify barriers to trade and scope out a future trade deal.

• A joint statement on defence was expected to demand EU countries spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence and promise collaboration in tackling Isil.

• The new relationship - which comes with both countries redefining their roles in the world - is due to be cemented with a state visit for Trump in the summer.

The US President's team has made clear he wants a "full Monty" visit that will eclipse the trips of his predecessors in pomp and ceremony.

The Telegraph has talked to more than a dozen ministers and senior aides both sides of the Atlantic about what is planned for the historic talks and the new US-UK relationship.

Trump's team was said to be considering a "passporting deal" which would allow British and American firms to set up and trade in each other's countries with minimum regulatory hurdles.

At present, British banks have a passporting deal with European Union - which mean British banks can carry out financial services anywhere in the 28 member states under one set of regulations.

The EU has threatened to strip Britain of these rights when it leaves, and some experts fear this could see billions of pounds of finance lost to rival cities such as Paris or Frankfurt.

Any UK-US deal on passporting could form part of a new trade deal which some have said could be agreed in just 90 days once Britain has left the EU.

One source close to Trump said any passporting deal "would form part of the discussions, it will be on the agenda" at the first meeting between May and Trump. The source added that "promoting Anglo-American capitalism is in both their interests".

A British minister on Saturday night said they would be open to the idea, adding that "any trade liberalisation is welcome".

Trump wants to play golf at Balmoral

Donald Trump wants to tee off with the Queen at Balmoral Castle during the US president's first official state visit to the UK this summer, under plans being discussed in Downing Street.

Discussions are underway about the president playing a round of golf on the private nine-hole course at Balmoral while the Queen looks on.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also set to be involved as the royal family rolls out the red carpet for the US President and his First Lady.

Trump's team want to create a photograph opportunity to rival the famous images of President Ronald Reagan horse riding with the Queen at Windsor Castle when he visited in the 1982.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, and dinner at Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston was born.

If the Queen were to agree it would make a break in protocol because the Queen traditionally goes on holiday to her Scottish castle in August.

Heads of state are normally hosted at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, because they are owned by the state. Balmoral is the Queen's private home, and any invitation there would demonstrate the lengths to which the Queen is willing to go to ensure that the special relationship between the UK and US thrives.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Currently, no inward State Visit for 2017 has been announced, and we would not comment on speculation about future plans. As is well known, invitations for all State Visits are extended on the advice of government."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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