Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have spoken ahead of the Nato summit – and are looking forward to meeting each other this week, a White House official said.
The US president, who expressed his condolences to the Prime Minister after the London Bridge attack, is set to visit Buckingham Palace for a reception on Tuesday, before he joins world leaders in Watford the following day.
The remarks on Saturday night from Judd Deere, White House deputy press secretary and special assistant to the president, are the first explicit confirmation that the two leaders will meet with one another.
Mr Deere tweeted: “Today, @POTUS @realDonaldTrump spoke w/ @10DowningStreet @BorisJohnson of the United Kingdom. The President expressed his condolences following the terrorist attack in London. The two leaders look forward to meeting with one another at the upcoming @NATO Leaders Meeting in the UK.”
The confirmation comes after an official said Mr Trump is “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other nations’ elections.
Mr Johnson has already warned Mr Trump not to get involved in the General Election campaign, after the president previously urged him to form a pact with Nigel Farage.
The Conservatives will be wary of any endorsements or comments from Mr Trump during the visit, a week before the public goes to the polls on December 12.
When asked if Mr Trump has been briefed and warned not to speak about the election on his trip, a senior US administration official said the president is “very conscious” of the fact “we do not interfere”.
Pressed further, the official added: “He also, as I suspect you know, likes Boris Johnson – Prime Minister Johnson, personally.
“But he is absolutely cognisant of not, again, wading into other countries’ elections.”
Asked about whether there would be a press conference, the official said: “Stay tuned. We might have more for you on that as it goes forward.”
Mr Johnson was asked on Friday about the president’s unprecedented intervention when he gave his backing to the Prime Minister and urged him to form a pact with Mr Farage.
“When you have close friends and allies like the US and the UK, the best thing is for neither side to get involved in each other’s election campaign,” Mr Johnson told LBC radio.
Asked during a press conference if he would meet specifically with Mr Trump, the PM replied: “I’m obviously going to be hosting the Nato leaders’ meeting and look forward to meeting all the Nato heads of government coming to that meeting.”
The president last month hailed Mr Johnson as “the exact right guy for the times” and warned that Jeremy Corbyn would take the UK to “bad places”.
Mr Trump did have some criticism for Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, claiming it hinders trade with the US.
The president’s visit will come as Labour warns that the NHS will be “up for sale” to US corporations in a post-Brexit trade deal under the Tories.
Party leader Mr Corbyn has revealed a 451-page dossier he claims is “proof” the health service is on the table, but Mr Johnson has rejected this as “nonsense”.