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Barack Obama visits Downing Street for surprise meeting in No 10

Barack Obama has visited Downing Street for a surprise meeting at No 10 with Rishi Sunak.

The former US president - who served in the White House between 2009 and 2017 - waved at reporters outside before he entered the prime minister’s residence for a previously undisclosed private meeting at 3pm.

A Downing Street spokesperson insisted the visit was an “informal courtesy drop in” as part of the former president’s visit to London.

They added: “President Obama’s team made contact and obviously the prime minister was very happy to to meet with him and discuss the work of the Obama Foundation.”

Mr Obama left No 10 after around an hour following a meeting with Mr Sunak.

The former US president said “I’m tempted” when asked questions by the media as he re-emerged and got into a Range Rover car with Jane D Hartley, the US ambassador to the UK, just after 4pm.

Former US president Barack Obama leaves following a meeting at 10 Downing Street, London (PA Wire)
Former US president Barack Obama leaves following a meeting at 10 Downing Street, London (PA Wire)

The Barack Obama Foundation is a nonprofit organisation focused on social mobility that was founded by the former president back in 2014.

The last time Mr Obama visited Downing Street was eight years ago in 2016.

The former president met with then prime minister David Cameron at Number 10 for talks ahead of the Brexit vote.

He warned the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for US trade deals if it left the European Union.

The two leaders also held a joint news conference at the Foreign Office. Mr Obama said the US “wants Britain’s influence to grow - including within Europe”.

The talks come as Mr Sunak said he has “confidence for the future: as he battles to shore up his position as prime minister following rumours that his party is looking to replace him ahead of a general election.

Mr Sunak’s failure to turn around the Tories’ opinion poll deficit has fuelled speculation about Conservative MPs considering replacing him with Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt in an attempt to avoid a general election disaster.

Business secretary Kemi Badenoch told plotters seeking to oust the prime minister to “stop messing around” and end the “Westminster psychodrama”.

Ms Badenoch suggested “one or two MPs” are behind the Westminster rumours and they should not be allowed to “dominate the news narrative”.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I'm sure if Penny was here, she would be distancing herself from those comments.”

Ms Mordaunt has not publicly commented on reports about a bid to elevate her to the Tory leadership, but a source close to her rejected them as “nonsense”.