Theresa May condemns Donald Trump as 'wrong' over Britain First retweets - but says his UK state visit will go ahead

'An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted,' says Number 10

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 29 November 2017 17:07
Donald Trump criticised for Britain First retweets

Theresa May has condemned Donald Trump over his retweets of posts from far-right group Britain First - but No 10 said his visit to the UK would still go ahead.

A spokesman for Downing Street said: "It is wrong for the President to have done this."

However, asked if the US leader's scheduled state visit to Britain would still take place, despite the tweets, the spokesman said: "The United States is one of our oldest and closest allies. An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. Further details will announced in due course."

With the Prime Minister in the air over the Middle East, her spokesman was unable to say whether she would confront Mr Trump directly over the tweets.

It was also unclear whether Britain would demand that the President delete them – or whether her criticism would be raised with the US government in any way.

But, the spokesman said: “Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people

“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents - decency , tolerance and respect.”

He added: “It is wrong for the President to have done this.”

On the ongoing controversy surrounding the President’s state visit, No 10 said there was “nothing further” to add to previous statements.

Ms May invited to Mr Trump to the UK just seven days after his inauguration in January, when she became the first foreign leader to visit the 45th President at the White House.

The visit was pencilled in for last June, but postponed as the backlash and threat of protests grew - first until the autumn and then until next year.

It was alleged that the President phoned the Prime Minister to warn her he did not want to go ahead with the trip if there was widespread public opposition.

Nearly two million people signed a petition calling for it to be downgraded, saying they would join a protest if he was given the honour of an invitation from the Queen.

The spokesman made clear the invitation still stood, saying: "The invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. Further details will be announced in due course."

Earlier, Mr Trump sparked sparking condemnation for sharing a series of Islamophobic tweets from far-right extremist group with a global audience.

The first video, originally shared by Britain First’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen's account, claimed to show "Muslim migrants beating up a Dutch boy on crutches".

A second re-post was captioned "Muslim destroys statue of Virgin Mary", while a third read "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death".

The content of the videos or their origin could not be independently verified, but local reports said the first showed the 2013 murder of a teenager who was himself likely to be a Muslim during riots over the coup against Mohamed Morsi.

The attacker in the video from the Netherlands was neither a Muslim nor a migrant, according to local media and was arrested over the incident.

Join our new commenting forum

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

View comments