Donald Trump has scrapped his upcoming visit to the UK
US president Donald Trump has confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy - and hit out at the location of the 1.2 billion dollar (Â£886 million) project.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a ‘bad deal’.
He wrote: ‘Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars.
‘Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!’
British government sources said they had never officially been informed of a date for Mr Trump to make a visit, but speculation had suggested he would formally open the embassy at a ceremony in February.
The new building will open for business on January 16.
In December Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: ‘I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.’
He said the new embassy was a ‘signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better’.
Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming predecessor Barack Obama, the US announced plans to move to the new site in October 2008 - when George W Bush was in the White House.
Mr Trump’s decision not to head across the Atlantic comes despite Prime Minister Theresa May saying that a future visit was still on the cards last week.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Our position is that an offer for a state visit has been extended and accepted.’
Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit - officially on behalf of the Queen - when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year.
Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.
Last month, the White House said it would announce details “soon” of Mr Trump’s proposed visit to the UK.