Boris Johnson defends Donald Trump against 'demonising attacks'

Foreign Secretary says President Trump's executive order will make 'no difference' to British passport holders

Samuel Osborne
Monday 30 January 2017 17:50
Comments
Boris Johnson defends Donald Trump against 'demonising attacks'

Boris Johnson has attacked those trying to "demonise" Donald Trump's administration over his travel ban.

The Foreign Secretary hit out at Labour MPs who had condemned the President's ban on immigrants travelling to the US from Muslim-majority countries in what has widely been branded a "Muslim ban".

Mr Trump has also said the US will not take any Syrian refugees for a period of 120 days.

Speaking to MPs, Mr Johnson said the ban will not affect British passport holders as he branded discrimination on grounds of nationality "divisive and wrong".

The Foreign Secretary told MPs that Britons "remain welcome to travel to the US" and the country's embassy in London had confirmed President Trump's executive order would make "no difference" to British passport holders.

Mr Johnson said: "The general principle is that all British passport holders remain welcome to travel to the US.

"We have received assurances from the US embassy that this executive order will make no difference to any British passport holder, irrespective of their country of birth or whether they hold another passport."

He added: "This is not our policy, nor is it a measure that this Government would consider. I have already made clear our anxiety about measures that discriminate on grounds of nationality in ways that are divisive and wrong."

Labour backbencher Mike Gapes could be heard to shout "show some backbone" and "where's your spine?" as Mr Johnson updated MPs about Mr Trump's immigration policy.

Dennis Skinner calls on Boris Johnson to ban Trump's visit

The Foreign Secretary acknowledged the US policy was "highly controversial" but stressed the "vital importance" of the transatlantic alliance to the UK.

However he was strongly criticised by opposition MPs for failing to take a tougher line with the new administration.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: "When it comes to human rights, when it comes to women's rights, when it comes to torture and the treatment of minorities, President Trump is already descending down a very dangerous slope.

"When that happens we need a prime minister who is prepared to tell him to stop, not one who simply proffers her hand and silently helps him along."

Veteran leftwinger Dennis Skinner compared the US President with Hitler and Mussolini, accusing the Government of being "hand in hand with another fascist - Trump".

Mr Johnson said such comparisons between the elected leader of the US and the "tyrants of the 1930s" were "inappropriate".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in