Trump opponents protest outside United Kingdom parliament as lawmakers debate planned visit
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 21, 2017,
Feb 21, 2017, 18:29
Thousands of protesters gathered outside Westminster Hall as MPs clashed during a debate over Theresa May's decision to invite Donald Trump on a state visit to the UK.
Adam Holloway, Conservative MP for Gravesham, said that while Mr Trump's travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries was absurd, it was "rather refreshing" to see a politician actually do what they had promised.
In response, a petition was promptly created and signed by about 2 million United Kingdom citizens protesting his proposed state visit, proving that Trump had sort of invited himself to a party that the United Kingdom didn't even know it was going to throw. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle are in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, addressed the crowds, as did Lucas - who emerged from the debate to describe Trump as a "bully and a bigot".
Sadiq Khan said the US president should not get VIP treatment when he comes to Britain later this year because of his "ban on people from seven Muslim-majorities countries" and his decision to block refugees from entering the United States. Only three previous U.S. presidents - Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - have been given the honour, and all had to wait several years after election before being invited.
A petition to Parliament calling for the invite to be withdrawn has amassed more than 1.8 million signatures as of Sunday, far surpassing the 100,000 signatures needed to prompt a debate in Parliament.
MPs were debating two petitions on whether Trump should be allowed a state visit later this year.
The British government has already formally rejected the petition to downgrade or withdraw the invitation.
He said: 'They enable us to strengthen and influence those global relationships that are of the greatest strategic importance to this country, and even more widely, to other parts of the world as well'.
Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said on behalf of the government that state visits are strategic "diplomatic tools" and "the visit will happen".
After several hours Members of Parliament, supported by overwhelming public dislike of the American billionaire and a petition boasting almost 2 million signatures, said no to Trump.
Senior Tory Julian Lewis said castigating Mr Trump would encourage him to "retreat into a bunker" away from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The rally, held by the Stop Trump Coalition and campaign group One Day Without Us, drew scores of supporters carrying signs that read, "No to racism; no to Trump", yards from the House of Commons where the debate was under way.
"A Queen who has been asked over the decades to host tyrants such as Presidents Mobutu of Zaire and Ceausescu of Romania is going to take a brash billionaire from NY effortlessly in her stride", William Hague, a former foreign secretary, wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"We didn't do this for Kennedy, we didn't do this for Truman, we didn't do this for Reagan, but for this man, after seven days, we say please come and we will lay on everything because we are so desperate for your company".
"We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised".