UK's Cleverly raises eyebrows by meeting Trump ally Pompeo

Foreign Secretary hosts former US chief diplomat

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Photo: @jamescleverly / Twitter
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has raised eyebrows by holding a meeting with Donald Trump’s former chief diplomat.

Mr Cleverly announced the face-to-face meeting with former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Thursday.

“Thanks for stopping by,” Mr Cleverly wrote as he publicised the meeting on Twitter.

“From the defence of Ukraine to strengthening our trade ties — it’s clear the US/UK relationship is going from strength to strength.”

His tweet met some objections from lobbyists and former officials who pointed out that Mr Pompeo does not speak for the US government.

Mr Pompeo left office in January 2021 and has been a vigorous critic of Joe Biden’s administration.

The meeting with Mr Cleverly came two days after Mr Trump announced he would seek a return to the White House in 2024.

Mr Pompeo has not ruled out mounting his own bid for the presidency, saying he was discussing the matter with his wife.

“We’re trying to think our way though, figuring out what’s next for us,” he told a conservative radio host this week.

The UK's Foreign Office said it had no further comment on the meeting.

Opposition figures sometimes meet foreign leaders or diplomats when they are running for election.

In 2014, then-UK opposition leader Ed Miliband met US president Barack Obama on a visit to the White House.

David Cameron and Tony Blair similarly met US incumbents — George W Bush and Bill Clinton respectively — before winning power in the UK.

Leaked emails from the server used by Hillary Clinton as secretary of state showed she maintained contact with UK counterpart David Miliband after he left office.

Liz Truss, after being appointed foreign secretary last year, met a US secretary of state from the more distant past in Henry Kissinger.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 10:49 AM