What Was Barack Obama Doing At No.10 Downing Street?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Former United States President Barack Obama arrives in Downing Street to meet UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on March 18, 2024 in London, England. President Obama has been in Europe this week and appeared at a moderated debate

Barack Obama prompted intrigue among Westminster watchers after making a surprise visit to No.10 Downing Street.

The former US president was pictured arriving at prime minister Rishi Sunak’s residence on Monday, flashing a smile and waving at the assembled media before entering the famous black front door.

Speculation quickly faded as Downing Street said Obama was paying a “courtesy visit” to discuss the work of his foundation with Sunak, who may have welcomed the distraction from his domestic woes.

Former US president Barack Obama (centre) with United States ambassador to the United Kingdom Jane Hartley, leave following a meeting at 10 Downing Street, London. Picture date: Monday March 18, 2024. See PA story POLITICS Obama. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)

He left No.10 after around an hour following the meeting. The pair are thought to have discussed a range of subjects, including AI, over cups of tea.

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.

Obama last visited Downing Street in 2016, when he was still in the White House and David Cameron was UK prime minister, and issued a warning on Brexit.

At the time, he warned Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a US free trade deal if the UK left the European Union.