UK Politics

Theresa May 'looking forward' to Trump state visit

  • 14 February 2017
  • From the section UK Politics
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Donald Trump Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The details of Mr Trump's visit have yet to be settled

Theresa May has said she looks forward to welcoming Donald Trump to the UK later this year after discussing his planned state visit on the phone.

Last month's invitation, coming so soon after the US President took office, has proved highly controversial.

Speaker John Bercow has said Mr Trump should not address Parliament during the trip in light of the row over his travel ban and comments about women.

And 1.8 million people have signed a petition against the state visit.

The petition, saying that the visit should be downgraded, will be debated by MPs next week alongside one backing the visit.

The government said it recognised the "strong views" expressed but looked forward to welcoming the US president once details have been arranged.

Mrs May spoke to the US president about the trip as part of their "regular engagement", Downing Street said.

"They discussed a range of issues, including trade and security and also discussed the president's upcoming state visit to the UK," a spokesman said.

"The prime minister said she looks forward to welcoming him later this year."

'Embarrassment'

The invitation was issued during Prime Minister Theresa May's talks with the US president in Washington last month.

The government has rejected calls for the visit to be put on hold or scaled back in light of the controversy surrounding the first month of the Trump presidency.

More than 1.8 million people signed a petition claiming the visit would cause the Queen "embarrassment" while a counter petition calling for the visit to go ahead attracted more than 309,000 signatures.

Both petitions will be debated by the House of Commons on 20 February.

The government responds to all petitions on its website if they are signed by more than 10,000 people, and a similar response has been issued in support of the one calling for the state visit to go ahead.

Published on the petitions website, they say the government believes Mr Trump "should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit", adding: "This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

"At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the state visit."

'Closest ally'

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon rejected suggestions that the government was out of step with public opinion over the issue.

"I think the government has a duty obviously to have good relations with the US, probably our closest ally and most important economic trading partner," he told Sam Walker on BBC Radio 5 live Daily.

"It is equally important in a democracy that you accept the results of a democracy. President Trump has been elected now by the US and we work with him."

Solicitor Graham Guest, from Leeds, started the online petition that said Mr Trump should be allowed into the UK but not to make a state visit.

It came amid protests at the president's executive order preventing people from seven mainly-Muslim countries from entering the US.

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