UK's smallest city is saying 'no' to Trump

Westminster was flooded with thousands of activists bearing ant-Trump placards on Monday evening as MPs debated a petition against the U.S. president's state visit to the UK.

-Parliament debated Monday whether or not to rescind a state visit invitation extended to President Trump a week into his presidency, after two competing petitions elevated the issue to the national conversation.

It was prompted by a petition signed by 1.8 million people calling for Trump's visit to be downgraded, and came as thousands protested against his arrival outside the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

Critics focused on accusations of sexism and referred to his immigration policies, while other lawmakers argued Trump should come to Britain, but should not be given the high honour of a state visit, which would involve lavish displays of royal pageantry and a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth.

Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated she has no plans to retract her offer of a state visit to President Trump, who has already accepted an invite to come to the United Kingdom later this year.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and comedian Shappi Khorsandi are among those scheduled to address the rally, along with union representatives, environmentalists and speakers from Islamic organisations and human rights groups.

"In the case of the American president, they've taken place usually in the first two or three years of a presidency", said Charles Anson, a former press secretary for the Queen. Tory lawmaker Edward Leigh said canceling the state visit would be "catastrophic" to the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Muslim Labour MP Naz Shah said she felt personally attacked by Mr Trump's policies.

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Of the 12 USA presidents to hold office during Queen Elizabeth II's reign, only two have been received in official state visits: President George W. Bush in 2003 and President Barack Obama in 2011.

"Trump was labeled a misogynist, a bigot and a "petulant child" by opposition legislators".

"We didn't [do] this for Kennedy, we didn't do the for Truman, we didn't do this for Reagan", David Lammy said.

"There are great dangers in tempting to give him the best accolade we can give anyone", Flynn said.

They merely voted against an official state visit, which is an entirely different thing than "banning" someone from visiting the county or barring him from meeting with May.

During the debate on Monday, Labour Muslim MP Naz Shah said that a state visit would be tantamount to "endorsing" the views which have made Mr Trump so controversial. "But the state visit stands". "They're the ones who packed that stadium on Saturday to cheer Donald Trump after his month in the presidency because actually they like what he says", he said. "We had a state visit from a Chinese leader 10 years after Tiananmen square", added Evans.

The lawmakers jointly debated a rival petition calling on the British government to stand by the invitation.

Labour MP Lucy Powell, who was also on the programme, said she opposed the visit on the basis that it was "premature". One MP mentioned the visit by Hirohito, who presided over the rape of Nanking before World War II, as someone whose transgressions were obviously much worse than the "Access Hollywood" tape.

  • Sonia Alvarado