UK government responds to petition to stop Trump's State visit

Final dates have not yet been set

UK government responds to petition to stop Trump's State visit

British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump walk along the White House Colonnade during her visit to Washington DC | Image: Stefan Rousseau PA Wire/PA Images

The British government believes US President Donald Trump should "be extended the full courtesy of a State visit", responding to a petition urging Downing Street to call off the trip.

The petition says Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government, but "should not be invited to make an official State visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen".

It has been signed by more than 1.8 million people.

Protests against the US president intensified after Mr Trump sought to impose a travel ban against citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

A UK Foreign Office statement says the government recognises the "strong views" expressed by the petition, but does not support it.

"HM Government believes 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", it says.

It also says the government "recognises the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition, but does not support this petition."

"This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom", it adds.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May invited President Trump for a State visit when she was in Washington in January, which was accepted.

The invitation was given on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

The petition is due to be discussed in the British parliament on February 20th.

The House of Commons speaker John Bercow has been caught up in the row for saying that he was "strongly opposed" to an address by Mr Trump in Westminster Hall.

Additional reporting: IRN