Theresa May thanks Donald Trump for his ‘strong response’ to Salisbury

Theresa May today thanked Donald Trump for his ‘very strong response’ to the Salisbury attack by expelling 60 Russian diplomats.

The US President shocked his critics by banishing the embassy staff and closing a consulate in Seattle.

He joined leaders from over 20 countries around the world in ordering the united crackdown on Russia in an unprecedented show of global unity.

The two leaders had a ten minute ‘friendly’ conversation during which the Prime Minister said the response showed the Kremlin the ‘brazen’ attack would not be tolerated.

A spokesman for Mrs May said: ‘The Prime Minister today spoke with President Trump to welcome the US decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats in response to the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury.

‘The PM said the US had delivered a very strong response and welcomed the breadth of international action in response to Russia’s reckless and brazen behaviour, with 26 countries now putting expulsions in place.’

More than 100 Russian diplomats have been ejected from the US, Canada and over 20 countries across Europe.

The wave of expulsions is a major victory for Mrs May who has been on a diplomatic blitz urging nations to come down hard on Russia.

Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yuia are both fighting for the ir lives in hospital after being poisoned by Novichok.

Mrs May and Mr Trump also spoke about the steel tariffs the US has imposed on some countries.

The PM thanked the US leader for exempting the EU from the hefty charges, and said she hopes the exemptions can be made permanent.

Her spokesman said: ‘The PM welcomed the temporary exemption to steel and aluminium tariffs announced by the US last week with relation to the European Union.

‘She said she looked forward to constructive talks taking place between the EU and US on making that exemption permanent.’

The spokesman said Mrs May had thanked Mr Trump for his personal support in securing the passage of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (Cloud Act) by the US.

The Act ‘will provide an important tool in the investigation of terrorists and other offences in the UK and keep people living here safer’, she told the president.

But the two leaders did not discuss when Mr Trump’s long-awaited state visit to the UK will be.

The US announced on Monday that it was joining countries around the world in expelling Russian diplomats.

Mr Trump’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, welcomed the move and said: ‘Here in New York, Russia uses the United Nations as a safe haven for dangerous activities within our own borders.’

Spokeswomen for the White House and the State Department, along with Haley and US ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman condemned the alleged Russian attack.

Germany, France and Poland each expelled four diplomats, with Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic also taking action.

Ukraine – not an EU state – joined the European revolt by expelling 13 diplomats.

Canada followed suit by expelling three Kremlin staffers and, in a flurry of action yesterday evening, both Hungary and Norway announced the expulsion of one diplomat respectively.

Soon after Spain announced the expulsion of two.