During Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting and press conference with President Trump it was agreed that Trump would visit the UK later in 2017. A full state visit, including a meeting with the Queen, has been proposed.
But since Trump’s imposition on Friday of a ban on refugees and citizens of 7 Muslim-majority nations entering the US, there have been widespread calls for PM May to cancel the visit.
More than one million people have already signed one petition on the UK government’s official website calling for the status of the visit to be downgraded. The petition proposes that Trump would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.
The UK government requires petitions to attract 10,000 signatures before it will comment, and 100,000 before it will be debated in parliament. A date for the now-required parliamentary debate is yet to be set.
In a statement on Monday morning, the government responded to the petition, saying that it will not cancel the visit as to do so would “undo everything” achieved by PM May’s visit to Washington and the White House.
But opposition lawmakers have been vocal in support of the popular action.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the visit would be “totally wrong”, while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the trip would put the Queen in an “impossible situation” of meeting with Trump.
The petition’s author Graham Guest told the Press Association that such a visit would “legitimise” Trump’s presidency, and that Trump would take advantage of “being seen with the Queen to get re-elected”.
What is the current situation?
Despite earlier confusion and information to the contrary, the British Foreign Office has now clarified that the ban does not apply to UK citizens who were born in one of the 7 countries on the list, nor anyone who holds dual citizenship in the UK and those nations.
But that only applies if citizens with dual nationality are travelling from outside the nations affected. This means that a British citizen born in Iraq, or with Iraqi dual citizenship, should be allowed to travel from the UK to the US with no extra security checks. However, if the same citizen entered the US on a flight from Iraq, they would be stopped at the US border.
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, who was born in Iraq, tweeted that he would be banned from entering the US. But the clarification from the Foreign Office means that he will now be allowed to enter.
I'm a British citizen & so proud to have been welcomed to this country. Sad to hear ill be banned from the USA based on my country of birth— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) January 28, 2017
This is not the first time the British public have raised their discontent with the idea of Trump visiting. In June of 2016 a petition calling for Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate, to be banned from the UK for hate speech gained nearly 600,000 names. The government responded, saying the government policy precludes “routinely commenting on individual immigration or exclusion cases”.