Trump UK visit: More than one million Londoners ready to demonstrate against US president, survey suggests

Protest on course to be among the biggest in the country’s history – with 13 per cent of city’s population ‘likely’ to turn out

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 15 May 2019 18:07 BST
Thousands gather in central London to protest Trump's visit

More than one million Londoners are ready to demonstrate against Donald Trump’s visit to the UK next month, a survey suggests.

A staggering 13 per cent of the city’s 8 million residents say they are “likely” to join the protest, which would make it among the biggest in the country’s history.

An even higher proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds – one in five – said they expect to march on the streets during the state visit, which will take place on 3-6 June.

And Londoners of all ages oppose Mr Trump’s trip by a margin of more than two-to-one, with 54 per cent against it and just 24 per cent supporting it, according to the poll by YouGov and Queen Mary University of London.

The results set the scene for an extraordinary few days, after the US president shunned London when he visited last year because he did not want to be confronted with protesters.

This time, he and first lady Melania will enjoy the full pomp and ceremony of a state visit, including a banquet at Buckingham Palace – although several leading political figures will boycott it.

It will also coincide with the crucial next – and probably final – attempt by Theresa May to pass her Brexit deal.

Even last July’s visit, when he met the prime minister at her Chequers retreat, saw an estimated 250,000 people join a protest march through the streets of central London.

The campaigners also crowdfunded a baby balloon, depicting Mr Trump in a nappy, which was put on display outside parliament.

Asked about organised protests, 13 per cent of people said they were “very” or “fairly” likely to protest, including 16 per cent of Labour supporters and 20 per cent of Liberal Democrats.

Some 54 per cent of all Londoners are opposed to the Trump trip in principle, with 70 per cent of Labour voters and 77 per cent of Lib Dem voters against it. Even 26 per cent of Tory voters were opposed to it.

Mr Trump will be denied the historic honour of a speech in Westminster Hall, after John Bercow, the Commons speaker imposed a ban on the president’s “racism and sexism”.

Mr Trump will hold discussions with Ms May in Downing Street and attend military displays in Portsmouth to commemorate the critical moment in the Second World War.

The gathering on Southsea Common, on 5 June, will involve live performances, military displays and tributes to the Allied troops who fought in Normandy, including a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft and at least 11 royal navy vessels in the Solent.

Representatives from Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries, including Germany, have also been invited to attend the event.

The following day, the prime minister will travel to Normandy to attend commemorative events including the inauguration of the British Normandy memorial in Ver-sur-Mer.

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