British government delivers brutal slapdown to the White House over 'nonsense' claim

The Prime Minister's spokesman said "we have made clear to the US these claims are ridiculous" after WH officials reportedly made a grovelling apology

The White House has been delivered a brutal slapdown by the British government for repeating a claim that GCHQ spied on Donald Trump.

US officials face humiliation hours after the British spy agency issued a rare statement branding the claims "utterly ridiculous nonsense".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer sparked the row last night by quoting a Fox News pundit who claimed GCHQ "wiretapped" the Republican billionaire for Barack Obama to avoid "American fingerprints".

Today he was branded "stupid" and "desperate" by Britain's former foreign secretary and intelligence committee chief Malcolm Rifkind.

As the row unfolded, Mr Spicer is understood to have spoken directly to Britain's ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch.

Sources told the Sun and Telegraph US officials had issued a "grovelling" apology to the PM's National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant.

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