Donald Trump: MPs clash over UK state visit

Theresa May and Donald TrumpImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The prime minister announced the state visit during a trip to Washington to meet the US president

MPs have clashed over whether Donald Trump should be given a state visit to the UK in a packed Westminster debate.

Protesters gathered outside as Labour’s Paul Flynn said it would be “terribly wrong” to go ahead with the visit.

But Tory Nigel Evans told the US president’s critics to “get over it”.

The Westminster Hall debate was triggered by two petitions – one against the state visit, which got 1.85 million signatures, and one in favour which got 311,000.

Opening proceedings, Mr Flynn, a member of the petitions committee, said it was “extraordinary” an invitation had been issued so soon into the US president’s term.

He said there was “no question of any disrespect” towards the United States in opposing Mr Trump’s visit, but said the president had caused problems in “every political area in which he has become involved in” and had been ” behaving like a petulant child”.

He claimed a state visit would put the Queen “in an awkward position”.

But Mr Evans said Mr Trump was being criticised for implementing the policies he had promised during the US election campaign.

Critics who “stand up and condemn him for being racist” are “attacking the American people” who voted for him, he said.

“If they wanted more of the same,” he added, “that was on the ballot paper”.

Image copyright
AFP/Getty

Image caption

Anti-Trump protesters gathered outside Parliament as the debate took place

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan is due to respond to the debate for the government.

Outside, a group of anti-Trump protesters gathered in Parliament Square ahead of a planned rally.

Campaigners from the Stop Trump Coalition say similar demonstrations will be held elsewhere around the UK, including in Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Newcastle.

Campaigners are also marking “One Day Without Us”, celebrating the contribution of migrants to the UK, coinciding with the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the state visit during a visit to Washington for talks with Mr Trump.

It led to petitions titled Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom and Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom.

Media captionPro-Trump UK state visit petitioner admits that it was his 13-year-old daughter’s idea

Commons Speaker John Bercow was criticised by some MPs after he said Mr Trump should not address Parliament during the trip in light of the row over his travel ban and comments about women.

Mr Trump was invited to the UK for a state visit after just seven days as president, while it took 758 days for Barack Obama and 978 days for George W Bush.

The government has said it recognised the “strong views” expressed by the US president but looked forward to welcoming him once details have been arranged.

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