Donald Trump’s UK visit will take place after all, the UK government declared despite a petition calling for it to be canceled. The petition, signed by more than 1.8 million people, said Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the United Kingdom, but he should not be invited for a formal “state visit.” The reason, according to the petition? Such an event “would cause embarrassment” to The Queen.
A “state visit” is a formal, ceremonial visit by a head of state, following an official invitation by the head of a foreign country. In the United Kingdom, such an invitation usually includes a meeting with the royal family, hence the possible “embarrassment” during a meeting between Donald Trump and The Queen.
Donald Trump was officially invited to the UK by Prime Minister Theresa May during her visit to Washington last month. The invitation caused immediate uproar back in her home country, with the petition being created shortly thereafter on the official UK Government and Parliament website.
Today, however, Donald Trump’s UK visit was assured, as The Telegraph reports, after Theresa May and the government issued an official response to the petition. The response said the government recognizes the “strong views” expressed by those who signed the petition against Donald Trump but does not support it.
“HM Government 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 finalised.
“This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit.”
The formal petition process in the United Kingdom means any British citizen can create one on the government’s website, and as long as at least five people support it, and it meets certain standards – the petition gets published. If 10,000 people sign the petition, the government then has to respond to it. If 100,000 people sign the petition, it will be considered for a debate in Parliament.
The petition calling to ban Donald Trump’s UK visit was signed by more than 1.8 million British citizens, as of this writing, so aside from getting the response from the British government, it will also be debated in Parliament on February 20.
The petition cites Donald Trump’s “vulgarity” as one of the reasons he should not be formally invited to the UK.
“Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales.
“Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.”
The petition isn’t the only hurdle standing in the way of Donald Trump’s UK visit. According to The Guardian, the President’s UK visit will be scheduled for late August or September, when parliament will be in recess, so MPs will not be there to object and embarrass the visiting president of The United States. In addition, Donald Trump’s public appearances in the UK will be reduced, in order to minimize opportunities for public protests.
The Guardian also reported earlier this month that John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons (the lower house of the UK’s Parliament), already declared Donald Trump is “unfit” to speak in front the Parliament, and said he would refuse to invite him to speak.
“After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.
“I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
At this point, despite the major opposition to Donald Trump’s UK visit, it appears the formal state visit will eventually happen, with the government’s official support – but will most likely result in more heated debates and loud protests.
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