British government rejects petition to cancel Donald Trump state visit signed by 1.8 million people

The Foreign Office says it will extend ‘the full courtesy of a state visit’ to President Trump

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 14 February 2017 09:30
Comments
Petition to prevent Donald Trump making a state visit surpasses 1.8 million signatures

The Government has officially rejected a petition calling for Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK to be cancelled.

Nearly two million people signed the petition on Parliament’s website, with the number still rising.

In a written response the Foreign Office, the Government said it did not agree with the request and would extend “the full courtesy of a state visit” to the US President.

The Government’s statement says: “HM Government believes the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit. We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised.

“HM Government recognises the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition, but does not support this petition.

“During her visit to the United States on 27 January 2017, the Prime Minister, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited President Trump for a state visit to the UK later this year.

“The invitation was accepted. This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the state visit.”

However, the petition will still be debated by MPs in Westminster.

Downing Street yesterday refused to rule out moving the state visit to Birmingham in the hope of avoiding protests. House of Commons leader David Lidington said on Sunday discussions about the visit’s many “variables” were still ongoing.

The Stop Trump coalition, which includes MPs from several parties, trade unionists and campaigners, has pledged to hold the largest anti-racism demonstration in British history no matter where the state visit is held.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had called for the state visit to be cancelled until Mr Trump’s “Muslim ban” policy was lifted, while Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has said he will bar Mr Trump from addressing the Commons.

The rejected petition said that Mr Trump “should not be invited to make an official state visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.

It continued: “Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales.

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“Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official state visit.”

The Prime Minister was the first world leader to officially meet Mr Trump after his inauguration.

A spokesperson for the Stop Trump coalition said Theresa May had “shown her contempt for people asking her to take a stand against racism”.

He said that she had decided to side “with a bigoted megalomaniac”.

He continued: “Theresa May wants to sell the values of tolerance and respect down the river for trade deals and influence with a far right administration.

“In recent weeks, we have witnessed an outpouring of opposition to the politics of hatred and division that Donald Trump represents.

“Tens of thousands have taken to the streets at barely a day's notice – many of them new to protest and politics.”

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