Britain to Trump: 'No vacancy' for Farage
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[November 22, 2016]
By Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Tuesday
dismissed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's unprecedented expression
of support for Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage to be made British
ambassador to Washington, saying pointedly that there is no vacancy for
Trump, who after his election victory met Farage before any EU leaders,
said on Twitter that "many people" would like to see the former metals
trader turned politician as Britain's ambassador.
"Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as
their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!" Trump
said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who congratulated Trump on his victory, was
swift to reject such an undiplomatic proposal.
"There is no vacancy," a Downing Street spokesman said when asked about
Trump's remark on Tuesday. "We already have an excellent ambassador to
It is highly unusual in the modern era for leaders to publicly suggest
to foreign nations whom they would like to see as ambassador, though
during strained relations they sometimes reject or expel envoys.
Farage, who spent decades campaigning for Britain to leave the European
Union and helped force former Prime Minister David Cameron call the June
referendum that brought the Brexit vote, spoke at a Trump rally during
the U.S. campaign and visited the president-elect after his victory.
As leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and one of the key figures
of the successful Brexit campaign, Farage has repeatedly angered EU
leaders by predicting the collapse of the EU, which he says is run by an
out of touch elite of "idiots".
Farage said Trump's suggestion that he serve as ambassador had come
"like a bolt from the blue" but Trump understood loyalty in a way that
those in the "cesspit" of career politics did not.
"I am in a good position with the President-electís support to help. The
world has changed and it's time that Downing Street did too," Farage
said in an article written for the Breitbart news website.
"I would do anything to help our national interest and to help cement
ties with the incoming Anglophile administration," Farage said.
A photograph of Trump greeting one of the EU's biggest critics before a
gilded elevator shortly after the U.S. election caused consternation in
EU capitals, many of whom view Trump with a mixture of fear and
Once shunned by Britain's mainstream media and its political
establishment, Farage peppers his speeches with jokes and the odd
expletive while railing against what he calls the doomed European
superstate and immigration into Britain.
[to top of second column]
European Parliament Nigel Farage speaks during a Republican
presidential nominee Donald Trump campaign rally in Jackson,
Mississippi, U.S., August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Farage said Trump would be a great president after "the political
revolution" that brought Brexit in Britain and Trump to power in the
"In the United Kingdom the people have spoken but the players at the
top have, I am afraid, stayed the same," Farage, 52, said.
"Those who supported Remain now hold senior positions. Worst still,
those who were openly abusive about Trump now pretend to be his
friend," said Farage.
Farage has called for May to build ties with Trump, who provoked
criticism in Britain with his call for a temporary ban on Muslims
entering the United States. Queen Elizabeth might invite Trump for a
state visit to Britain next year.
Farage made light of allegations of sexual assault against Trump
during the U.S. campaign by encouraging him to "come and schmooze"
May but adding "don't touch her for goodness sake".
When U.S. President Barack Obama said before the referendum that
Britain would be at the back of the queue for a trade deal, Farage
said it was disgraceful to intervene in the sovereign affairs of
But the way ambassadors are chosen in the United States and Europe
It is common practise for the United States to appoint celebrities
or campaign donors as envoys, for example when Richard Nixon
appointed Shirley Temple as his envoy to Ghana in 1974.
European states mostly appoint career diplomats or officials with
long experience as ambassadors.
Kim Darroch, the current British ambassador in Washington, did not
reply to emails from Reuters requesting comment on Trump's remarks.
His email bounced back with an out of office reply saying that the
ambassador was traveling.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden and Giles
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