Britain’s Foreign Office on Tuesday told more than 1.8 million petitioners seeking to prevent a visit by US President Donald Trump that it did not support the petition, adding he “should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit”.
No date has been finalised yet but the forthcoming visit has raised many hackles inside and outside Parliament, raising the prospect of demonstrations and protests when Trump arrives later this year.
Prime Minister Theresa May, whose invitation to Trump during her recent US visit was accepted, has refused to concede to demands that the visit be called off. Opponents of the visit include the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, who made his views known in a rare intervention last week.
Responding to the petition, the Foreign Office said it recognised the strong views but did not support the petition. “This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom.”
Parliament is scheduled to debate the petition on February 20.
The petition said Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US government “but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.
The petition, which continues to attract signatures, adds: “Donald Trump's well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.”