Prime Minister David Cameron is leading a diplomatic charm offensive on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in the event he actually becomes president of the United States.
The rise of Trump in the US election cycle has been watched from across the Atlantic with a mix of morbid curiosity and trepidation.
The presidential hopeful provoked outrage in the UK after he suggested there are no-go zones in London where even police dare not tread because of the sheer number of radicalized Muslims.
Now, however, the British PM is trying to build bridges between the UK and Trump’s election campaign, just in case he actually wins.
At the time, Cameron labelled Trump’s comments about London “divisive, stupid and wrong.”
Although he rejected widespread calls for Trump to be barred from entering the country, Cameron said: “If he came to visit our country I think he would unite us all against him.”
In response to calls for a ban, the government said the US is Britain’s most important ally and it is within the country’s interests to engage with all candidates for president.
It appears the UK is keen to maintain its “special relationship” with the US regardless of who is in power.
The Times reports Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, has been ordered to cultivate relationships with Trump’s foreign policy advisors as a matter of priority.
Darroch will update the PM on his progress during a return trip to London on Friday, coinciding with President Barack Obama’s visit.
Downing Street’s change of attitude to Trump reflects his continued popularity in the US, where he maintains a clear lead in the race for the Republican nomination.
However a government source expressed concerns over who is advising the bombastic billionaire.
“The truth is that we don’t fully know where he’s getting his information or ideas on the UK from. That’s what is so scary.”
Last month, Trump named London-based lawyer George Papadopoulos as one of his foreign policy advisers.
Papadopoulos has attracted controversy in the US, where his inexperience in foreign affairs has been mocked in the press.
Reportedly a specialist in Eastern-Mediterranean energy policy, Papadopoulos’s experience includes acting as a delegate at the 2012 International Model United Nations in Geneva on his resume.
However even this claim is disputed, with the current secretary-general of the program saying he has no recollection of Papadopoulos ever attending.