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May rejects petition calling for Trump's state visit to be called off

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-15 09:40

May rejects petition calling for Trump's state visit to be called off

US President Donald Trump meets with UK Prime Minister Teresa May in the oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C, January 27, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

LONDON -- British Prime Minister Theresa May formally rejected a petition Monday signed by nearly 2 million people wanting the cancellation of the proposed state visit to Britain by US President Donald Trump.

The petitioners said a state visit by Trump, which would involve a state banquet, would embarrass Queen Elizabeth.

Officials at Westminster have scheduled a debate about the petition by MPs (members of Parliament) next week when the Houses of Parliament re-open after a recess.

In its official response to the petition, May's government recognized the strong views of those who supported the petition, but added that Trump should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit.

Even if MPs vote in support of the petitioners there is no requirement on May or her government to accept their decision.

In its response, the government says it believes the president of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit.

"We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalized," said an official statement.

During May's visit to the United States on Jan. 27, 2017, the British prime minister, on behalf of the Queen, invited Trump for a state visit to Britain later this year. The invitation was accepted.

Media in London are reporting that Trump's state visit will take place before the end of this month.

More than 200 MPs from across the political spectrum have signed a motion in the House of Commons saying they do not want permission to be granted to Trump to address politicians at the Houses of Parliament during his state visit.

They cite Trump's recent actions, including his executive order on immigration and refugees, and his comments on torture and women, as the reason for their stand.

The Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, was dragged into the controversy when he said Trump should not address parliament. His statement has led to a vote of no confidence in him, a move that could threaten his position at Westminster.

 

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