No10 has rejected calls to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK despite more than a million people signing a petition demanding he be uninvited in the wake of his Muslim travel ban.
A Downing Street source dismissed the petition, which claims his visit would embarrass the Queen, as ‘a populist gesture’.
And they blasted the suggestion that the President’s state visit could be scrapped, saying it would ‘undo everything’ that Theresa May achieved during her visit to the White House on Friday.
But Theresa May faced growing pressure to cancel or postpone President Trump’s state visit today as senior Tories joined calls for a rethink.
Tory peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the first female to attend Cabinet, became the latest high profile politicians to call for the state visit to be postponed until President Trump has lifted his controversial travel ban.
More than 1million people have signed a petition demanding President Trump’s state visit to the UK is cancelled. Pictured, President Trump with an executive order in the Oval Office
Theresa May, pictured left arriving for Brexit talks in Cardiff today, is under growing pressure to postpone Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK. Baroness Warsi, right, the ex-Tory Cabinet minister, said Britain must not honour the US President by rolling out the red carpet for him
She joins Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron in calling for his visit to be put on hold.
Last night it was announced that the executive order, which prevents anyone entering the US from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days, will not apply to British nationals holding dual nationality with one of the banned nations.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he will update MPs in the Commons this afternoon about the fast-moving developments.
President Trump’s hardline immigration crackdown triggered protests across the US and today thousands of demonstrators will take to the streets in cities across Britain.
Protests against his ban are planned to take place in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge and Birmingham and in London demonstrators will protest outside Downing Street.
MPs must now debate calls for President Trump’s state visit to be cancelled after the online petition easily passed the 100,000 target within hours of being set up.
It exceeded 1million names by 10am this morning – less than 36 hours after it was set up.
The petition reached 1million signatures mark by 10am this morning – less than 36 hours after it was set up
Tory peer Baroness Warsi said President Trump must not be given the honour of a state visit.
‘We have to question whether, in Britain, this is something that Britain should be doing for a man who has no respect for women, disdain for minorities, little value for LGBT communities, no compassion for the vulnerable and whose policies are rooted in divisive rhetoric,’ she told the Today programme.
‘Those who run and govern this country bowing down to a man who holds the views that he holds, values which are not the same as British values, I think is sending out a very wrong signal.’
WHO HAS TRUMP BANNED?
President Trump’s executive order prevents anyone entering the US from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days.
The Foreign Office secured clarification about what the travel ban means for the UK.
Its guidance says:
- Ban applies to anyone travelling from one of the seven countries on Trump’s travel ban: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
- Travellers to the US from anywhere other than one of those countries will experience no extra checks, regardless of nationality or place of birth
- UK nationals travelling from one of those countries are not included in the ban, even if they were born in one of the affected states.
- Dual citizens from one of the seven countries travelling to the US from outside those countries are not affected.
- Dual nationals might have extra checks if they travel directly from one of the seven countries.
The peer said the Government must ensure that ‘people in this country know that whatever crazy things the President of the United States may be doing, it is not what we believe and not what we support.’
Baroness Warsi echoed Ms Davidson, who said a state visit ‘could not possibly occur’ while ‘a cruel and divisive policy which discriminates against citizens of the host nation is in place’.
It is now the second most popular petition since the government’s online petition website was set up in 2010.
But the call for action is still a long way off the largest Parliamentary petition in history when more than 4million people demanded a second referendum over EU membership last summer.
Confirming that President Trump’s state visit will go ahead later this year as planned, a Downing Street source told the BBC: ‘The invitation has been issued and accepted.
‘To scrap the visit would undo everything following Mrs May’s visit. America is a huge and important ally we have to think long term.’
Despite this, MPs will have to debate cancelling President Trump’s trip because the enormous response to the petition meant it easily passed the 100,000 target needed to trigger a Commons debate.
The enormous response easily passed the 100,000 target needed for MPs to consider holding a debate on the motion in the House of Commons, with more and more people flocking to sign it.
As more and more people flocked to sign it, the petition rose at an average of more than 1,000 signatures per minute.
Plans for a state visit for President Trump were only announced on Friday when Mrs May revealed he had accepted an invitation from the Queen.
The high-profile visit was scheduled for later this year and was set to feature the usual full pomp and ceremony.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, pictured, said a state visit ‘could not possibly occur’ while ‘a cruel and divisive policy which discriminates against citizens of the host nation is in place’
London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan, pictured, also said President Trump should only be invited for a state visit once he lifts his ‘shameful’ travel ban
The US President’s shock executive order prevents anyone entering the US from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days
Speaking alongside President Trump at the White House on Friday, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that he and the First Lady had accepted an invitation from the Queen to make a state visit to the UK later this year with full pomp and ceremony
But it had already hit a snag after it emerged the US President wants to avoid Prince Charles because of their dispute over global warming.
The petition, backed by Mr Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, says the US President should no longer be invited to avoid embarrassing the Queen.
The motion states: ‘Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.
TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN TRIGGERS TRAVEL CHAOS FOR BRITONS
Hamaseh Tayari, pictured, a UK resident with an Iranian passport, was stranded in Costa Rica after being denied boarding a flight home to Glasgow because her flight was due to stop-over in New York
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are offering refunds for travellers affected by Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
His executive order preventing anyone entering the US from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days has triggered chaos at airports across the world as travellers were caught out in transit.
Customers who have bought flights to the US will be given the choice of a refund or the chance to re-book.
One woman affected was Hamaseh Tayari, a UK resident with an Iranian passport, who was stranded in Costa Rica after being denied boarding a flight home to Glasgow because her return flight was due to stop-over in New York.
Ms Tayari was due to fly home to Glasgow via New York after holidaying in Costa Rica but her US transit visa was revoked as Mr Trump’s immigration crackdown took effect immediately.
She is now trying to work out an alternative route home but she said it is likely to cost her a month’s salary to get home.
‘This has really shocked me. We just discovered [what Trump did] at the airport when we went to check-in, Ms Tayari told the Guardian.
‘I want people to know that this is not just happening to refugees. I am a graduate and I have a Phd. It has happened to a person who is working and who pays tax.’
‘Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales.
‘Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.’
Mr Corbyn said he is ‘not happy with him coming here until that ban is lifted,’ while Mr Farron said his visit would be ‘placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith’.
Within hours of being set up it attracted the necessary 100,000 for the motion to be considered for debate in the Commons.
And it is on course to beat the record one million signatures in support of Jeremy Clarkson returning as Top Gear presenter.
Most people signing the petition are in London or student towns, according to a heat map.
Any petition that receives more than 100,000 signatures within six months must be considered for debate by MPs in Parliament.
Petitions that attract more than 10,000 in the time period requires a response from the Government.
The petition eclipsed the target within a few hours and by 9.30am it had surpassed 970,000 signatures.
It will now be up to the Commons Petition’s Committee to decide whether a parliamentary debate on the matter would be appropriate, but its popularity is likely to lead to a debate in the Commons, which could be highly embarrassing for the US President.
David Cameron introduced the e-petition initiative when he entered Downing Street in 2010 in a bid to boost democracy and transparency.
London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan also said President Trump should only be invited for a state visit once he lifts his ‘shameful’ travel ban.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was alone in defending the immigration crackdown and even suggested Britain should follow the President’s lead and introduce ‘extreme vetting’ of incomers.
Mr Javid, the Business Secretary, responded directly at Mr Farage, tweeting: ‘Farage is wrong to try and defend US immigration ban. These are not British values.’
Announcing on Friday that the Queen had invited President Trump to make an official state visit to the UK, Mrs May said: ‘In a further sign of the importance of that [special] relationship I have today been able to convey Her Majesty the Queen’s hope that President Trump and the First Lady would pay a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year and I’m delighted that the President has accepted that invitation.’
Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators are planning to protest against the ban outside Downing Street and across the country today from 6pm.
Protests are listed to take place in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge and Birmingham.
A march organised by a coalition of groups, including Stand Up to Racism and the Muslim Council of Britain, is due to begin at the US embassy next Saturday, ending at Downing Street.
Graham Guest, who started the petition in November, told the Press Association he feared Mr Trump would use the state visit and the accompanying photo opportunities with the Queen to bolster his image.
He said: ‘A state visit legitimises his presidency and he will use the photo opportunities and being seen with the Queen to get re-elected.
‘The wording in the petition is quite precise as I actually say that he should come here as the head of government to do government to government business.
‘At the end of the day he is still the President and we’ve just got to live with that. But there’s no reason why he should get all the pomp and publicity of a state visit.’
Asked why he had launched the petition, Mr Guest, from Leeds, said: ‘Anything to make his life more uncomfortable.
‘I think a debate in Parliament to ban a state visit would be great as people will have had the chance to air their views on him.
‘The petition is really just to make as much noise as possible and put the spotlight on him and what an awful person he is.’
A No 10 spokesman said: ‘An invitation was extended and has been accepted.’
A heat map shows that most people who are signing the petition to cancel Mr Trump’s state visit are in London or student towns. The darker the colour, the more people have signed it
The storm over Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban comes just two days after he and Theresa May were spotted holding hands at one point as they walked around the White House grounds
It would be highly embarrassing for the US President, pictured with Mrs May on Friday, if MPs were given a debate on whether to cancel his state visit to the UK