Government 'abandons plans for Donald Trump to address Parliament during state visit'

The US President is likely to arrive in the UK in August or September, according to reports

Tom Batchelor
Friday 10 February 2017 18:23
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US President Donald Trump in the White House on 10 February 2017
US President Donald Trump in the White House on 10 February 2017

Downing Street has abandoned plans for Donald Trump to address Parliament during his state visit to the UK later this year, according to reports.

The move follows pointed remarks by Commons Speaker John Bercow that Parliament's opposition to "racism" and "sexism" made an official address by the US President to both houses inappropriate.

Sources have told The Guardian that Mr Trump's visit will take place over the summer while Parliament is on recess, meaning UK officials can avoid directly snubbing the Republican billionaire.

John Bercow 'strongly opposed' to Donald Trump address to Parliament

His visit is expected to stretch from a Thursday to a Sunday in August or September, when MPs are either on their summer holiday or attending party conferences outside of London.

The plan is “the preferred option” for the British Government, the source said.

Thousands of people took to the streets last weekend to demonstrate against Mr Trump, and his impending visit is likely to trigger a fresh wave of public anger.

Officials are said to be keen to limit the number of public outings by Mr Trump during the trip. That is likely to mean he will spend only a brief period in the capital, where protests are expected to take place.

Included in the trip will be an audience with the Queen, whom he has reportedly requested to play golf with.

Discussions are said to be underway for Mr Trump to play a round of golf on the private nine-hole course in Scotland as the Queen watches.

Tea at Buckingham Palace is also understood to be on the President’s wish-list.

Earlier this week, Metropolitan police chief Sir Bernard Hogan Howe said Mr Trump’s planned state visit to the UK could happen “around June”.

The prospect of a state visit provoked outrage after Mr Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US.

Mr Bercow said he was “strongly opposed” to Mr Trump speaking in the Commons as he stressed that being invited to address Parliament was “not an automatic right” but “an earned honour”.

“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall," Mr Bercow told MPs.

“After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”

Donald Trump state visit is likely to be 'around June'

The timing of Mr Trump’s visit to coincide with the summer recess will be welcomed by a large number of MPs, including the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders, who have voiced their opposition to the trip.

But it leaves Theresa May in a somewhat trickier position as she has attempted to forge a close relationship with the new President in a bid to build post-Brexit trade links with America.

Responding to calls for the visit to be called off, Ms May said: “The United States is a close ally of the United Kingdom. We work together across many areas of mutual interest and we have that special relationship between us.

“I have issued that invitation for a state visit for President Trump to the United Kingdom and that invitation stands.”

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