UK Lawmakers to Debate Trump Visit 02/20 09:11
LONDON (AP) -- British lawmakers are set to debate a call for U.S. President
Donald Trump to be denied a state visit to the U.K. --- but the Conservative
government insists the invitation remains firmly in place.
Trump opponents plan to demonstrate outside Parliament in London as
legislators hold a non-binding debate Monday. It comes in response to an online
petition with more than 1.8 million signatures saying a formal state visit
"would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen."
On state visits, foreign leaders are welcomed with royal pomp and military
ceremony, and usually stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of Queen Elizabeth II.
Lawmakers will also consider an opposing petition, with more than 300,000
signatures, backing the state visit.
All petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures are eligible for
debate in parliament, though not a binding vote.
During her 65-year reign, the queen has welcomed many leaders with
less-than-spotless records, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and the
late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. A 2015 state visit by Chinese
President Xi Jinping drew protests from Tibetan groups and human rights
But Trump's invitation has sparked unprecedented opposition, especially
after his executive order temporarily barring citizens of seven majority-Muslim
nations from entering the United States.
Thousands of people demonstrated against the order in British towns and
cities, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government to reconsider its
invitation in light of Trump's "cruel" migrant ban, which has since been
suspended by U.S. courts.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow set aside his customary political
neutrality to say that Trump should not be invited to address Parliament when
he comes to Britain --- an honor given to his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Dates have not yet been announced for Trump's visit, expected later this
year. The government said in a statement responding to the petition that the
state visit "reflects the importance of the relationship between the United
States of America and the United Kingdom."
"We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements
are finalized," it said.