There has long been opposition to Donald Trump’s agreed State Visit to the United Kingdom. Indeed, an e-petition that said that it should not take place was signed by over 1.8 million Britons. As such, it was debated in Westminster Hall on the 27th February 2017. Many MPs voiced their opposition to the visit, but the Government replied to the petition saying:
” HM Government believes the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit. We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised”
Further to this, the Speaker of the House of Commons controversially stated that he did not believe that Donald Trump should be invited to the House of Commons, should there be a state visit:
This was controversial because it is a long-standing convention that the Speaker of the House of Commons stays impartial on political issues.
The pressure on the UK Government to cancel the State Visit with Donald Trump has ratcheted up this week in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to retweet material from the Twitter Page of the Far-Right political group, Britain First.
This is the timeline of events:
Donald Trump retweets three videos from the account of Jayda Fransen, Deputy Leader of Britain First:
A Downing Street 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 which this country represents: decency, tolerance, and respect”
Donald Trump tweeted Theresa May as below:
In a speech given in Jordan Theresa May rebuked President Trump saying:
Pressure is increasingly growing on Theresa May to withdraw the official invitation on behalf of the Queen, to President Trump for a State Visit. Withdrawing the offer of a State Visit would be an enormous diplomatic move. With Brexit approaching in 2017, Britain is relying on Donald Trump to push forward a trade-deal with the UK, there is a delicate balance to be reached. For some people who are vehemently opposed to a Donald Trump presidency, the State Visit should go ahead – they believe it is important that the British public can have their say on a Donald Trump presidency. Indeed, it would be expected that there would be major protests against Trump.
It is extremely unlikely that the official invitation for a state visit would be withdrawn. More likely is that the British Government would use delaying tactics, not fixing a date, thereby sending a clear message to the Trump Administration without causing a public diplomatic incident. As ever, the British Prime Minister has to manage her role as Britain’s Chief Diplomat and Head of the Government extremely carefully.