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Truss backs Javid over Trump’s Britain First tweets

PUBLISHED: 10:12 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:12 30 November 2017

Prime minister Theresa May and US president Donald Trump have engaged in a war of words after he retweeted a far-right British group

Prime minister Theresa May and US president Donald Trump have engaged in a war of words after he retweeted a far-right British group

PA Archive/PA Images

Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has backed communities minister Sajid Javid after he attacked US president Donald Trump’s apparent endorsement of far-right group Britain First.

Mr Trump – an avid user of social media site Twitter – shared three anti-Islamic posts in a move which has been widely condemned.

Even prime minister Theresa May’s spokesman , speaking on her behalf, said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”.

And Mr Javid joined the criticism tweeting: “So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”

But in an unprecedented move overnight the president took to Twitter again to attack Mrs May saying: “@Theresa_May don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”

Shortly afterwards South West Norfolk MP and chief secretary to the Treasury Ms Truss backed Mr Javid saying: “Saj is spot on. We have to stand up for what we believe in.”

The transatlantic war of words will spark renewed calls for the state visit of Mr Trump to be cancelled. Mrs May faced criticism for inviting the president just weeks after he took office.

Government officials in London and Washington were said to be “perplexed” by the president’s actions. A government source said: “We are obviously angry and they are pretty embarrassed. We knew the normal rules of diplomacy did not apply to Trump but sharing these posts and then having a go at the prime minister so publicly is obviously going to put strain on things.”

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that if Theresa May could turn back the clock she would almost certainly have avoided cosying up to, and holding the hand of Donald Trump, quite so brazenly.

“The president’s retweets of a UK group that preaches hate and intolerance will come as no surprise to many who’ve watched with dismay his openly Islamaphobic policies and failure to denounce murderous far right movements in his own country.

“For the UK government to cooperate and work with the US on issues of mutual benefit is one thing. Developing ‘a warm and special relationship’ with this man quite another.”

Britain First was founded in 2011 by former BNP members. It is mainly known for its online activism but has held protests including invasions of mosques.

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