THERESA May’s desire to push ahead with Donald Trump’s state visit shows she is “insensitive” to growing public anger, a senior MP has claimed.
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan delivered a further sign of the Government’s commitment to the invitation, writing in a letter to Labour’s Paul Flynn that the event is an opportunity to “further advance” the close relationship between the US-UK.
But Sir Alan added British officials have yet to finalise what the US president would do on his visit while also reiterating no date has been fixed for the controversial event.
Former shadow minister Mr Flynn criticised the Government’s stance and said opposition has “almost certainly risen” since the invitation was debated in Parliament in February, which was triggered by a petition claiming a state visit would “cause embarrassment” to the Queen.
The petition attracted more than 1.8 million signatures while a separate one backing Mr Trump’s state visit received 317,542 signatures.
The visit received no mention in the Queen’s Speech, fuelling speculation it had been put on the backburner.
This came after the White House denied reports Mr Trump had told Mrs May he does not want to go ahead with the trip if it is going to lead to large-scale demonstrations.
During the general election campaign, Mr Flynn wrote to the Prime Minister asking her to cancel or postpone the invitation given there was “widespread talk of impeachment” surrounding Mr Trump.
Sir Alan, in a letter sent after the election, wrote in reply: “You will be aware, as the member of the Petitions Committee who led the debate in Westminster Hall on February 20, that I said ‘this is a special moment for the special relationship. The visit should happen. The visit will happen’.
“The precise timing and programme for the visit is yet to be finalised.
“The Government’s position has not changed on this matter, the US is one of our closest allies and a state visit is an opportunity to further advance that important relationship.”
Mr Flynn, MP for Newport West, told the Press Association: “The Government is clearly insensitive to the growing feeling against President Trump’s state visit.
“An invitation was premature at best and entirely misconceived at worst.
“Almost two million people signed a petition objecting to the visit in February.
“Since then the number objecting has almost certainly risen and there was an absence of a mention of the visit by the Queen.”