Donald Trump state visit will be debated in Parliament

The state visit by Donald Trump will be debated in Parliament as protests take place across the UK against the US president.

President Donald Trump gestures during the "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
President Donald Trump gestures during the "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

MPs will consider Theresa May’s decision to extend the invitation to Mr Trump in a debate being held in response to petitions signed by millions of Britons.

Meanwhile demonstrations will take place across the country in support of migrants and protesting against Mr Trump, while thousands are expected to gather for a rally outside Parliament.

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In Westminster Hall on Monday, MPs will debate a petition, signed by more than 1.85 million people calling for the visit to be stripped of the trappings of a state occasion in order to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Queen.

They will also consider an alternative petition, backed by almost 312,000 signatories, demanding the state visit goes ahead.

In its official response to the petitions, the Government stressed ministers believe “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,” the response said.

The Stop Trump coalition has called a nationwide day of action and dozens of protests have been coordinated by the One Day Without Us movement celebrating the contribution of immigrants to British society.

The rally in Parliament Square, which organisers claim will attract more than 20,000 people, will be addressed by speakers including joint Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and comic Shappi Khorsandi.

Celebrities backing the action include singer Paloma Faith, who said: “I’m backing the protests because I believe in human rights and compassion and Trump evidently does not.”

Calls for the state visit to be cancelled have been backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who hit out at the president’s “cruel and shameful” policies.

Mr Khan said the controversial tycoon’s travel ban aimed at people from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has run into trouble in the US courts, and the suspension of refugee admissions were reasons not to be “rolling out the red carpet”.

Mr Khan, who is a Muslim, told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: “I love America, I love Americans and I believe the special relationship is a good one and one that’s here to stay.

“But when you’re mates with somebody, when you’ve got a special relationship, of course you are side-by-side with them in times of adversity but when they are wrong you call them out.”

He added: “I think this ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, ending the refugee programme is cruel and it’s shameful.

“In those circumstances we shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet.”

Mrs May has been criticised for offering Mr Trump a state visit too soon in his already highly controversial presidency.

Barack Obama only received an invitation after 758 days, while it took 978 days before his predecessor, George W. Bush, was offered a state visit, compared with seven days for Mr Trump.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has also become embroiled in the row after effectively banning Mr Trump from addressing MPs and peers during his visit.

A motion of no confidence in the Commons Speaker was tabled as MPs left for the February recess, but with Parliament returning on Monday both Mr Bercow’s critics and supporters will be seeking allies.