Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Baroness Warsi condemns Theresa May for ‘bowing down’ to Trump

LONDON: An ex-Cabinet minister has accused the Government of “bowing down” to Donald Trump, demanding that Theresa May consider cancelling his state visit. Baroness Warsi said ministers had to decide whether it is right for the UK to bestow the “highest honour” it can on a US President who holds such controversial views. She urged ministers to refer to Mr Trump’s immigration policy as a “Muslim ban”, arguing there could be no doubt that is what it is. It follows calls from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and other Tories to cancel the trip, not to mention an official petition that has soared past one million signatures. Baroness Warsi said: “Those who run and govern this country bowing down to a man who holds the views that he holds, values which are not the same as British values, I think is sending out a very wrong signal.” “[State visits] are an honour of the highest order that a country can bestow on a visiting dignitary, it’s lots of pomp and ceremony, banquets and gifts and welcome and flattering speeches and all at the cost of the British tax payer. “We have to question whether in Britain, this is something Britain should be doing for a man who has no respect for women, disdain for minorities, little value for LGBT communities, no compassion clearly for the vulnerable and whose policies are rooted in divisive rhetoric.”

But Downing Street was resisting pressure to withdraw the invitation given to Mr Trump by the Prime Minister at the weekend, when she became the first foreign leader to meet the new President. A spokeswoman said the Government’s position is that an invitation has been extended and accepted. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, have all called for the visit to be cancelled. Meanwhile a petition set up a matter of days ago has now exceeded one million signatures, having past the 10,000 mark requiring a government response, and the 100,000 mark meaning it must be considered for a debate in Parliament. It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed that Mr Trump’s plan to temporarily ban travellers coming into the US from a group of predominantly Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – would only affect people who are dual citizens of the UK and a listed country, going directly to the US from the listed country. But the uproar over the ban, which Ms May at first refused to condemn, and then under pressure issued a statement saying she “does not agree” with it, continued regardless. Ms May had sidestepped questioning over whether she agreed with Mr Trump’s policy just hours after being pictured holding hands with the President at the White House, where she praised his “stunning” election victory. Baroness Warsi added: “What was worrying and what is worrying now, is the silence that we’re getting from government and its important that government come out and say this is a Muslim ban, which they condemn.”

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