White House forced to deny claims Donald Trump is insisting on riding in the Queen's golden carriage during UK state visit

Matt Broomfield
Tens of thousands are expected to protest the US President's state visit, currently scheduled for October: Reuters

The White House has been forced to deny claims that Donald Trump is insisting on riding in the Queen's gold-plated carriage during his upcoming state visit to London.

The Times had reported that the President was refusing to ride in the bullet- and bomb-proof car which Barack Obama used during his own visit to the English capital, and planned instead to ride down the Mall in the state carriage.

The switch into a slow-moving, glass-windowed vehicle would have added an extra level of hazard and expense to an operation already stretching the Metropolitan Police to their limit.

But a White House spokesperson told People magazine that the report was "completely false", adding that the President's camp "have not even begun working on details for this trip".

The state visit, a formality offered to all US Presidents once they take office, was originally scheduled for the start of this year. But the tour has reportedly been pushed back to October, in the hope that anti-Trump sentiment will have simmered down by the time he touches down in London.

Tens of thousands of protesters are still expected to show up, however, with 12,000 people currently attending one Facebook event intended to "tell Trump his racism and bigotry isn't welcome in the UK".

A petition to block Mr Trump’s state visit reached almost two million signatories, triggering a parliamentary debate at which a cross-party group of MPs called on Theresa May to rescind the offer to the billionaire tycoon.

Calling on the Government to reconsider its offer, Labour's Paul Flynn compared the US President's behaviour to a "petulant child", while fellow Labour MP Daniel Zeichner branded him “a disgusting and immoral man” who “represents the very opposite of the values we hold”.

However, Theresa May's Government is pushing ahead with the visit. Hundreds of plain clothes and uniformed officers will be deployed, regardless of the vehicle used, with Mr Trump viewed as a far more likely target for protests, violence and assassination attempts than any of his predecessors.

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