Donald Trump state visit debate: Tory MP says he has seen 'no evidence' of US President being racist

Remarks come as MPs consider Theresa May's decision to extend the invitation to the US President after just seven days in the White House

Tom Batchelor
Monday 20 February 2017 18:04 GMT
Nigel Evans MP says there is no evidence of Donald Trump being racist

Donald Trump has done nothing in the first weeks of his presidency to suggest he is a racist, a Conservative MP has said.

Speaking during a debate on the US President's state visit to Britain, Nigel Evans said: "When we stand up in this country and then condemn him for being racist, and I have seen no evidence of that, I have seen no evidence of him being racist, we are actually attacking the American people."

The comments were followed by an audible gasp as MPs gathered in Westminster Hall reacted to the statement.

He added that Mr Trump would go down as one of the only politicians who actually carried out their manifesto pledges, saying: "I respect the fact that he has stood on a platform that he is now delivering."

Mr Evans also called those who voted for the Republican President “the forgotten people” and compared them to those who voted for Brexit in the UK.

Veteran Conservative MP Edward Leigh also defended Mr Trump's record in government, including a travel restriction imposed on seven majority-Muslim countries that was later overturned by the courts.

He said: "The fact is that I don’t think there is any proof that this travel ban is racist.

"Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, there is no question of a travel ban on Indonesia.

"These countries are riddled by civil war, this travel ban builds on work done by [Barack] Obama.

"So to accuse the new President of the US of racism, misogyny and all the rest, is overstated."

The remarks came as MPs were considering Theresa May's decision to extend the invitation to the US president after just seven days in the White House.

The debate was held in response to petitions signed by almost two million Britons.

MPs from other parties, including Labour's David Lammy, the Green's Caroline Lucas and SNP's Alex Salmond, used the debate to argue against an official state visit invitation.

Anti-Trump chants were heard from Parliament Square before the debate, and appeared to die down as Labour MP Paul Flynn opened proceedings.

The Stop Trump coalition has called a nationwide day of action and dozens of protests have been co-ordinated by the One Day Without Us movement celebrating the contribution of immigrants to British society.

The rally in Parliament Square, which organisers claimed will attract more than 20,000 people, will be addressed by speakers including joint Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.

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