'I think the United Kingdom likes me a lot'

Jack Taylor  Getty Images David Davis

Prime Minister Theresa May's "Project Brexit" - the United Kingdom's planned withdrawal from the European Union - is in disarray following the resignation of two top Cabinet members, which also represented the greatest challenge to her authority yet.

Asked what he would do if the Brexit plan ended up limiting Britain's ability to conduct trade deals with non-EU countries, Fox said: "I don't believe it does". But Britain said European Union nationals should be able to travel visa-free to Britain for tourism or "temporary business", and there should be measures allowing young people and students to work and study in Britain.

Shrugging off the plans for mass protests, which will include a giant baby-shaped blimp bearing Trump's features, he said in Brussels: "They like me a lot in the UK".

A sluggish economy and a strong dollar have weakened sterling - the currency has suffered its worst quarter versus the dollar since the 2016 Brexit vote - but it has been creeping higher recently. The poll found 75 percent of people felt the government was doing badly at negotiating Brexit.

Amid growing discontent on the Tory backbenches, Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns warned that more resignations could follow those of Mr Johnson, Mr Davis, Brexit minister Steve Baker, two Conservative vice-chairs and two parliamentary aides.

Trump was flying over after a fraught North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he piled pressure on allies to double their defence spending.

"Donald Thump!" read the tabloid's front-page headline after the President told reporters that Britain was "in somewhat turmoil" and that the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the "easiest" part of his European trip.

Meanwhile, some Conservative Party Eurosceptics have hit back at Mrs May by tabling amendments to a key Brexit Bill that could kill off her Chequers plan.


The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, said there had been "blunder after blunder" by May.

Ambassador Johnson sought to play down Trump's comments.

"So far sterling has moved from elated (no hard Brexit) to rock bottom (new government crisis likely)", Antje Praefcke, a currency strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said in a note.

"Alongside this unprecedented economic partnership, we also want to build an unrivalled security partnership, and an unparalleled partnership on cross-cutting issues like data, and science and innovation".

Despite the welcome from May, many Britons are opposed to Trump's visit.

Mrs May will host Mr Trump and his wife Melania at a lavish dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday evening. There are very few signs of the Prime Minister's famous red lines.

He is due to stay overnight with Johnson at the ambassador's Winfield House residence in London's Regent's Park where a protest is planned at which demonstrators will play recordings of migrant children held in USA detention centres.

Later, Trump will go to Windsor Castle for tea with 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth.

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