MPs heap scorn on Trump visit, but UK says it will happen
The UK government said after a three-hour debate in parliament that US President’s planned visit to Britain will go ahead despite opposition from MPs and the public.world Updated: Feb 21, 2017 17:30 IST
British MPs heaped scorn over the “racist and sexist” views of US President Donald Trump, but the Theresa May government said at the end of a largely one-sided debate that his visit will go ahead given the special relationship between the two countries.
The three-hour debate in the Westminster Hall of parliament on Monday was triggered by more than 1.8 million people signing a petition that called for cancelling a state visit by Trump on the ground that it would embarrass Queen Elizabeth. Outside parliament, thousands protested against the visit.
Woman MPs called Trump’s views sexist, and he was compared to a child by Paul Flynn (Labour): “It is of great concern that the president behaves like a petulant child. How would he behave in a future conflict that might arise?"
Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party was among the most critical: “It is difficult to know whether to be appalled at the morality of the invitation or just astonished by its stupidity…(The) Prime Minister’s holding-hands-across-the-ocean visit would be difficult to match as an example of fawning subservience, but to do it in the name of shared values was stomach-churning.”
Salmond added, “What exactly are the shared values that this House and this country would hope to have with President Trump? Exemplifying what shared values are is a process that is fraught with danger, but the Prime Minister tried it when she was home secretary. She said that they were: ‘Things like democracy…a belief in the rule of law, a belief in tolerance for other people, equality, an acceptance of other people’s faiths and religions.’
“Which of those values, as outlined by the Prime Minister, has President Trump exemplified in his first 30 days in office,” Salmond asked.
Responding to the debate, Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said: “The government place our national interest at the heart of our decision-making, and the special relationship is a central part of that national interest. The special relationship transcends political parties on both sides of the Atlantic, and it is bigger than individual personalities. It is about the security and prosperity of our two nations.
“This is a special moment for the special relationship. The visit should happen, the visit will happen, and when it does I trust that the UK will extend a polite and generous welcome to President Donald Trump.”
First Published: Feb 21, 2017 16:16 IST