JANUARY 31, 2017 00:00 IST, LONDON
A parliamentary petition opposing the planned state visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the U.K. later this year hit over 1 million signatures on Monday, highlighting the strength of feeling in the country about the British government’s plans to ally itself with the U.S. as it extricates itself from the EU.
The petition, which was set up last year following Mr. Trump’s election, had gained over 1.1 million signatures from U.K. citizens and residents by Monday morning. It calls on the government to prevent Mr. Trump from making an official state visit because it would “cause embarrassment to” the Queen.
Will require response
“Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales,” the petition reads.
Having hit over 100,000 signatures, the petition will require not only a response from the government but a parliamentary debate.
Support for the petition gathered pace after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and the visit of Prime Minister Theresa May to Washington, and Philadelphia, where she promised to work with Mr. Trump to “stand strong together to defend our values, interests and ideas”.
During the visit, Ms. May said that Queen Elizabeth had extended an invitation for a state visit to Mr. Trump.
“The invitation has been extended and accepted,” said a spokesperson for Downing Street on Monday, who declined to comment further on the petition itself.
While Ms. May’s visit attracted criticism at home at the time, the outcry mounted after Mr. Trump signed the executive order that banned the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the U.S. and suspended its refugee programme for four months. Ms. May was slow to criticise his actions, sparking concern that the government’s eagerness to maintain close ties with the U.S. would prevent it from even protecting its citizens.
‘Let’s stand in solidarity’
A number of protests are due to take place in the coming days and weeks against Mr. Trump, and the planned visit. Over 30,000 people had signed up to take part in a demonstration outside Downing Street on Monday evening, with politicians across the political spectrum due to attend.
“Let’s stand in solidarity with those targeted by Donald Trump’s hateful government, including the people of this country, outside Downing Street, and all over Britain,” wrote organiser Owen Jones.
A number of protests are due to take place in the U.K. in the coming days and weeks against Trump