MPs clashed on Monday over whether or not to invite US President Donald Trump to the UK for an official state visit. Such a visit traditionally means the visiting dignitary meeting the Queen. But this drew ire from the British public, as 1.8 million people signed a petition asking for the invitation to be rescinded.
A further 300,000 people signed another petition in favour of the visit.
These two petitions were being discussed in Westminster Hall, as around 7,000 people gathered outside to listen to speakers including political columnists and Union leaders.
Labour MP Paul Flynn said the visit would be “terribly wrong” if it went ahead, while Conservative MP Nigel Evans told those protesting to “get over it”, as plans would not be changed.
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan was the government’s spokesperson at the debate. He said: “We believe it is absolutely right that we should us all the tools at our disposal to build common ground with President Trump”.
Speaker of the House of Commons, who chairs debates and is expected to remain neutral, was recently criticised for airing his views on Trump. But John Bercow said he thought Trump should not address parliament during his visit, due to his comments about women and Muslims.
PM May extended the invitation to Trump, as she visited Washington DC just 7 days after Trump’s inauguration.
euronews spoke to some of the protestors at Parliament Square on Monday
Sam, 22, from Norwich said “He (Trump) doesn’t represent the America I know and love”.
“I’m terrified of what’s happening” Leah, 23, from London pic.twitter.com/36BOrqd0Kt— Patrick Atack (@patricvk) February 20, 2017
Leah, 23, from London said she attended the protest as she is “terrified of what’s happening”.
Conner, 20, and Dan, 21, students at Goldsmiths University of London said they felt a “duty” and “an obligation to show our faces, for the sake of our future”.
James, 28, said that he wanted to be able to tell his future children that “I tried to make a difference”. He shared the signs he designed with friends Alex, 33, and Kayleigh, 28.
Anthea, 53, and her son Arthur, 8, said they are “sick to death of all the lies, on top of all the rest, the racism, and the misogyny”.
Helen and Elicia, both Canadian First Nations, were only visiting London as tourists. They came across the protest and decided they would “Come to represent First Nations people of North America, and the #NODAPL movement”. The #NoDAPL movement is explained here .