Pressure has mounted on Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to pull the plug on a planned state visit to Britain by far right US President Donald Trump On January 30, a petition to bar her new pal from Britain sailed past the one million mark.
The petition, which within hours smashed the 100,000 figure required to trigger a debate in Parliament , came as May faces a backlash, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leading calls for the invitation to be withdrawn.
May was met by an angry crowd chanting: “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA,” as she left Brexit talks in Cardiff on January 30. Thousands gathered for demonstrations across the country that night as Corbyn slammed Trump’s controversial travel ban targetting seven largely Muslim nations as outrageous, illegal and immoral.
In an earlier statment the PM said she was “very happy” to invite Trump for the visit despite the growing outrage over his travel ban. Corbyn wrote to May again urging her to withdraw her invitation, pointing out that Trump’s policy breaches the 1951 Refugee Convention, committing Britain, the US and 142 other states to accept refugees without regard to their race, religion or country of origin.
He said MPs and the public were “shocked and appalled by [her] inability to stand up for the values of rule of law, human rights and religious liberty” by refusing to rescind the invite.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was grilled in the Commons, as his Labour counterpart Emily Thornberry declared: “When it comes to human rights, when it comes to women’s rights, when it comes to torture and the treatment of minorities, President Trump is already descending down a very dangerous slope.”
Labour MP Dennis Skinner accused the government of walking “hand in hand with another fascist, Trump” and demanded Mr Johnson “ban the visit”.
Equality officer for British generaal trade union GMB, Kamaljeet Jandu slammed Johnson’s “waffling response” to the travel ban as “inadequate and insulting” saying it will “lead to more racial violence and abuse of Muslims and people of colour in Britain.”
Terror experts warned that Trump’s travel ban would be exploited by the far right and Islamist extremists. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson QC said: “The far right and separatist Islamists both promote the myth that Muslims cannot integrate into Western society.
“This travel ban will be used by both groups in service of that agenda.”
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband agreed, telling Radio 4’s World At One programme the ban would be a recruiting tool for ISIS, saying: “I don’t believe the state visit can go ahead in these circumstances.”
Downing Street said its position had not changed.