Barack Obama visits 10 Downing Street for surprise meeting with Rishi Sunak

18 March 2024, 15:37 | Updated: 18 March 2024, 17:10

Barack Obama arrives at 10 Downing Street
Barack Obama arrives at 10 Downing Street. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The former US President Barack Obama visited 10 Downing Street for a surprise private meeting with Rishi Sunak this afternoon.

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Obama was seen smiling and waving at reporters before he walked up Downing Street just after 3pm on Monday.

The former president served in the White House from 2009 and 2017.

A No10 spokesperson said: "He was making an informal courtesy drop in as part of his trip to London as part of his work with the Obama foundation.

"It was not an official meeting. He met with the prime minister. The prime minister was very happy to meet with him and discuss his work with the Obama foundation."

Barack Obama visits Downing Street for surprise meeting
Barack Obama visits Downing Street for surprise meeting. Picture: Alamy

The last time Obama visited Number 10 was 2016, though he and Mr Sunak had never met.

Obama worked with a number of UK Prime Ministers during his time as president, including Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Theresa May.

Read More: 'I'm not interested in Westminster politics': Rishi Sunak urges Tories to 'stick to the plan' amid plots to oust him

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Obama is known to have had a particularly strong relationship with Cameron.

The former president revealed in his political memoirs that they liked each other on a 'personal level'.

Barack Obama in Downing Street
Barack Obama in Downing Street. Picture: Alamy

But his relationship with UK politicians has not always been plain-sailing, with a number of a Tory MPs unhappy with how he spoke about Brexit.

Obama warned before Brits voted to leave the EU that Brexit would put the UK 'at the back of the queue' when it comes to securing a trade deal with the US.

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