Here's what Tory activists think of Donald Trump after GCHQ wiretap claim

Ian Silvera
GCHQ

UK spy agency GCHQ was forced to dart in and out of the shadowy world of espionage to issue a rare rebuke of the White House on Friday (17 March).

The intelligence organisation rejected allegations from Donald Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer that former US President Barack Obama had asked the agency to spy on the property tycoon.

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"Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wiretapping' against the then president-elect are nonsense," a spokesperson for GCHQ said. "They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."

The sensational comments from Spicer have triggered a transatlantic briefing war between Number 10 and the White House, with the latter denying Downing Street's claim that the US had apologised.

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The incident is a diplomatic embarrassment for Theresa May, who was the first world leader to hold a face-to-face meeting with Trump after his inauguration in January.

With the Conservatives holding their spring conference in Cardiff, Wales, IBTimes UK asked delegates what they thought of Trump and his latest intelligence-related incident.

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"He's like Marmite – you either love him or hate him," said Oswald Almeida, an activist from the south east of England. "Years ago I used to admire him with his rags to riches [story], he was a very good financially astute businessman billionaire.

"I went off him when he started going off and attacking immigrants and Muslims. And also when he questioned Mr Obama's birth as well as his sexism and misogyny.

He added: "I wish him well, I hope he's a good president for America and I hope he tones down.

"Well, we have a relationship with the United States of America so we have to keep that relationship whoever is president, Theresa May/Donald Trump, Tony Blair/George Bush, Margaret Thatcher/Ronald Reagan."

But Andrew Van Os, a Conservative delegate from the Vale of Glamorgan, was more optimistic about Trump's presidency and urged the media and the left to "give him a break".

"Now he's in power he hasn't change his mind, you've got to admire him for that, he's stuck to his guns," he said.

"There's lot of things he says I don't like, but I think it's time the far left in this country give him a break... give him enough rope and he'll hang himself, but give him a chance. Everybody in this world deserves a chance.

"The more the left push him, the further right he will go. If you leave him alone, he might calm down."

And on Spicer's GCHQ's claims? "He was clutching at straws a bit. I do think something was going on, even with the Russian thing something was going on. I don't quite know what. Was there a glimmer of something? You don't know," Van Os said.

Another pair of Tory delegates refused to go on-record about their thoughts on Trump because of their region's connections with the US, while an unnamed elderly female Conservative activist provided this answer when asked about Trump: "I don't use language like that."

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