Leaders of Labour and Liberal Democrats joined growing demands in Britain that the forthcoming state visit of US President Donald Trump be put on hold until he withdraws controversial orders banning refugees and people from some countries entering the United States.
The demand grew as Prime Minister Theresa May finally declared that she "did not agree" with the orders, after initially refusing to take a stand on them after meeting Trump earlier this week. Her response came as it became evident that many British citizens with dual nationalities would also be affected.
Responding to Trump's orders, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Donald Trump should not be welcomed to Britain while he abuses our shared values with his shameful Muslim ban and attacks on refugees' and women's rights. Theresa May would be failing the British people if she does not postpone the state visit and condemn Trump's actions in the clearest terms. That's what Britain expects and deserves".
His call was soon followed by Tim Farron, leader of Liberal Democrats: “Any visit by President Trump to Britain should be on hold until his disgraceful ban comes to an end. Otherwise Theresa May would be placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith".
An online petition to stop Trump's visit to Britain had a few hundred signatories until this morning, but jumped to 16,000 plus on Sunday morning.
May’s meeting with Trump earlier this week met with some criticism at home, but there was more when she refused to take a stand on Trump's orders during her visit to Turkey, saying it was for the US to determine which policy to follow on immigration and refugees.
The prime minister’s spokesperson said on Saturday night after May’s return to London that Number 10 was studying Trump's executive order and would "make representations" to the US government if any UK nationals were affected.
The spokesperson said: "Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government. But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking."
Many Britons hold dual citizenship with one of the seven countries named by Trump in his order, banning them from entering the US. These include Iraq-born Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, who called the order “cruel” on Sunday.
He told BBC: "I don't think I have felt discriminated against, probably, since little school," and added that the ban would stop him and his wife visiting their twin sons, who are at Princeton University in the US.
Zahawi said the UK should not " look the other way when President Trump makes a mistake" but added: "I'm reassured by Theresa May's statement because she quite clearly says she disagrees with this."
Mo Farah, iconic British runner who trains in the US but was born in Somalia, is likely to be affected by Trump’s order, since Somalia is one of the seven countries identified. Farah, winner of several Olympic medals, was knighted recently by Queen Elizabeth.