Trump's London stay met by protesters

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Donald Trump hailed Boris Johnson as a future prime minister, accused the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, of doing "a bad job" on terrorism and said there had been too much immigration in Europe in an incendiary interview that raised questions about the decision to invite him to Britain.

He added: "I've been reading a lot about Brexit over the last couple of days, and it seems to be turning a little bit differently, where they're getting at least partially involved back with the European Union", Mr Trump said.

May hopes Trump, who landed at Stansted airport before flying by helicopter to the U.S. ambassador's London residence, will help to accelerate a future free trade deal, though his public comments on Brexit cast a shadow over the visit.

It comes just days after Mr Trump declined to say whether Mrs May should remain in post, said he had "always liked" Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary over the Chequers agreement, and described the United Kingdom as being in "turmoil".

"I am not pitting one against the other", Trump said in the interview.

Trump even asserted that Johnson, a New York-born former mayor of London, "would be a great prime minister". He said: "The people voted to break it up, so I imagine that's what they'll do".

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He said London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has allowed protesters to raise a giant diaper-clad balloon mocking the U.S. president next to parliament on Friday, was doing "a bad job" on crime.

"The people voted to break it up (Britain's ties with the EU)", Trump said in Brussels following a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit there just before flying to London.

The biggest protests are set for Friday, when demonstrators plan to march through central London and float a huge balloon depicting Mr Trump as a baby in diapers over the Houses of Parliament. After arriving at London Stansted Airport, Trump was greeted by worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox and travelled to the USA ambassador's residence, where he will spend the night.

"It's a disastrous and divisive time and Trump is very much part of that", he said.

"I'm just saying I think he would be a great prime minister", Trump said. Earlier, more than a million people signed a petition calling for Trump's visit to be canceled.

During a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump made note of his tour of a Churchill exhibit the night before at Blenheim Palace, the estate near Oxford where the wartime leader was born.

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And in an apparent plea to the president to remember his allies when he meets Vladimir Putin on Monday, Mrs May noted that Britain and America work closely on security "whether through targeting Daesh terrorists or standing up to Russian aggression".

He added: "We have enough difficulty with the European Union". I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave Winfield House, residence of the US ambassador, before a helicopter flight to nearby Blenheim Palace, on July 12.

At the dinner May made a direct pitch for a trade deal with Washington, praising the friendship between the two allies and glossing over Trump's previous remarks that Britain was a "hot spot" in turmoil over Brexit.

Britain is now part of the EU's single market — which allows for the frictionless flow of goods and services among the 28 member states — and its tariff-free customs union for goods.

The two leaders will hold talks at the Prime Minister's country residence of Chequers where Russia, Brexit and the Middle East will top the agenda.

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