British Parliament Debates Trump Visit Amid Widespread Protests

Protesters gathered in many areas of the United Kingdom Monday as a divided British Parliament vigorously debated whether to honor President Trump’s invitation for a state visit, or if the invitation should be downgraded and stripped of its royal seal of approval.

During the debate, some members of Parliament insulted Trump and demanded that lawmakers stand up to him.

“There are great dangers in tempting to give him the best accolade we can give anyone,” said Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) Paul Flynn. “It would be terribly wrong because it would appear that British Parliament, the British nation, the British sovereign is approving of the acts of Donald J. Trump.”

Other MPs defended the invitation, asserting that withdrawing it would be detrimental to the close ties between the U.K. and the U.S., and serve as an insult to the American people.

“America is our greatest ally,” Conservative MP Simon Burns said. “It has been for a considerable amount of time. It has stood by us, shoulder to shoulder, in our hour of need, as we did in their hour of need, particularly during 9/11.”

The debate was sparked by a 1.8-million-signature petition urging the British government to withdraw Trump’s invitation for a state visit. In an statement last week, the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that the visit would not be cancelled.

A 310,000-signature petition calling on the British government to stand behind the invitation was jointly debated as numerous protesters gathered in Parliament Square to oppose Trump. They are focused on his January 27 executive order suspending travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries that have strong ties to terror.

U.S. presidents are typically invited to the U.K. for a full state visit, yet Trump’s invitation arrived during his first week in office—very quickly by British standards. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were more than two years into their presidencies before receiving their invitations.

Despite the petitions and protests, a poll released last week revealed that 53 percent of British citizens support Trump’s visit, while 42 percent do not.

H/T: The Hill

 

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