NOT WELCOME: Over One Million People Have Signed Petition to Block a Donald Trump State Visit to Britain
Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom later this year may not go according to plan if his critics across the pond have any say in it. A petition created over the weekend that calls for Trump to be allowed to enter the country—but not for an official state visit—has amassed over a million signatures from Brits fed up with the US president’s divisive rhetoric and inappropriate behavior.
The petition specifically cites Trump’s “misogyny and vulgarity,” claiming it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen” were he to meet with the royal family. British citizens can set the agenda for what their elected officials debate in parliament. At 10,000 signatures, the UK government is required to respond, while 100,000 signatures requires them to consider the petition for formal debate.
The petition suggests that Trump should still be allowed to visit the country in his role as head of the US government, but that he should not be accorded the distinction of a full state visit, which would involve Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s formal figurehead. (In the US, the head of government is also the head of state, but not in the UK.)
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, announced that Trump had been invited on a state visit during her recent trip to the US, but no date for the visit has yet been set. Her office rejected calls for the invitation to be withdrawn, saying cancellation would be a “populist gesture.”
It may not even take a petition to make the visit a matter of debate given the widespread condemnation. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn called Trump’s visit “totally wrong” in the face of his recent executive order barring citizens from seven countries from entering the US and shutting the door on Syrian refugees indefinitely.
“I think we should make it very clear we are extremely upset about it, and I think it would be totally wrong for him to be coming here while that situation is going on,” Corbyn said during an interview with ITV on Sunday. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron agreed, requesting the visit be put on hold until Trump’s order is lifted. Farron also cited concerns about the uncomfortable position it would put the Queen in.
Also against Trump’s state visit is Scottish National Party foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, London mayor Sadiq Kahn, and a growing list of MPs displeased with Trump’s recent actions.
Am “emergency” protest against the ban will be held outside Number 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s residence, on Jan. 30, featuring prominent speakers from the UK’s main political parties.