US President-elect Donald Trump has made an unorthodox diplomatic intervention, suggesting that UKIP leader Nigel Farage be made the UK's ambassador to Washington. Westminster has swiftly rejected the proposal.
The British government on Tuesday quashed suggestions made by US President-elect Donald Trump that Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage should be made the United Kingdom's ambassador to Washington.
Trump, who after his election victory met with the interim UK Independence Party leader before any other European head of state, tweeted that Farage "would do a great job" as the UK's ambassador to the US.
However, UK Prime Minister Theresa May swiftly rejected the president-elect's unorthodox intervention. Asked about Trump's remarks on Tuesday, a Downing Street spokesman said: "There is no vacancy. We already have an excellent ambassador to the US."
Nevertheless, following Trump's comments, Farage emphasized his influential position in building ties between the UK and Trump administration. In a column for the Breitbart website, Farage wrote: "I have known several of the Trump team for years and I am in a good position with the President-elect's support to help"
"The world has changed and it's time that Downing Street did too," he said.
Earlier, Farage told reporters he was "very flattered" by Trump's comments. "I have said since I met the president-elect that I would like to do anything I can to act in a positive way to help relationships between our two countries," he said.
The UK's current ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, did not comment on Trump's or the UK government's remarks.
Brothers in arms
It is unusual and considered undiplomatic in the modern era for a leader to suggest to foreign nations whom they would like to see as a representative. Ambassadors are appointed by the country they represent, not by the administration of the country in which they serve.
Farage was one of the key figures of the successful Brexit campaign in June, in which a majority of Britons voted to split from the European Union.
Trump, during his own divisive campaign, often drew parallels between his presidential bid and the Brexit referendum. Farage even spoke at a Trump campaign rally in Jackson, Mississippi, in August (pictured above) and met with the president-elect shortly after his victory.
A photo of the two greeting one another in front of a gilded elevator in Trump Tower stirred consternation across EU capitals, as well as in the media.
Westminster appears keen to strengthen ties with the US and has expressed interest in sounding out a trade deal in light of its departure from the EU. European countries, meanwhile, have remained more cautious in their approach to dealing with a Trump White House.
Trump's royal visit
On Monday, the British government said that Trump could embark on a royal visit to meet Queen Elizabeth II within months of becoming president. A spokesman for May said that a state visit was "under consideration." The government will likely make its move shortly after Trump's inauguration on January 20.
Reports suggest that the business mogul told May during their telephone conversation after his election victory that he was a "big fan of the Queen" and reportedly told Farage that his late mother would be "chuffed to bits when I meet the Queen."
dm/tj (AFP, Reuters)