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UK officials drop plan for Trump to address Parliament

11 February 2017 12:55

 

The British government has abandoned the idea of US President Donald Trump addressing the joint Houses of Parliament when he comes to the UK for a state visit later this year after objections by some parliamentarians.

Trump’s controversial visit is now expected to take place during a weekend in late August or early September, at a time when Parliament is not sitting, The Guardian reported Saturday, citing sources in the UK government.

Such an arrangement, which is now under discussion between 10 Downing Street and the White House, would mean that Trump would not be invited to address Parliament at all, the newspaper said.

A source described such a plan as “the preferred option at our end.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has invited Trump to Britain this year. State visits by foreign leaders typically include an address to Parliament.

However, the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said Monday he was “strongly opposed” to allowing Trump to address Parliament, citing “opposition to racism and sexism.”

Officials are also seeking to limit Trump’s public exposure more generally during the visit in order to reduce the opportunities for protest.

More than 1.85 million people have signed an online petition saying Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as president, but he should not be invited to make an official state visit, for fear of causing embarrassment to Queen Elizabeth.

The petition to halt Trump’s visit was started in November, months before May visited the White House on January 27 and extended an invitation for a state visit to Trump.

But the campaign gained momentum after the new Republican president imposed a 90-day entry ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.

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