The online petition that was created with the intention of stopping Donald Trump‘s visit to the UK has passed 1 million signatures.
The petition, on the government’s official petitions site, quickly reached the 100,000 signatures point, at which time it must be considered for a debate in parliament. The petition gathered momentum so fast that at one time it was being signed by more than 1,000 people a minute. Despite the huge overhaul of signatures, Downing Street has claimed that Theresa May will not be withdrawing her invitation to Trump due to it remaining “substantially in the national interest”.
The petition states that Trump should not be allowed to visit the UK “because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”, with the creators of the petition also stating that “Donald Trump’s well-documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by 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”.
As more people across the UK eagerly signed the petition, British Conservative politicians, together with the Labour party and Liberal Democrats, questioned May’s decision to go ahead with the meeting. Jeremy Corbyn even called for the visit to be postponed while Trump’s immigration ban was in place, and stated, “Donald Trump should not be welcomed to Britain while he abuses our shared values with his shameful Muslim ban and attacks on refugees’ and women’s rights”.
The Labour leader continued by saying, “Theresa May would be failing the British people if she does not postpone the state visit and condemn Trump’s actions in the clearest terms. That’s what Britain expects and deserves.” Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, agreed with Corbyn and said in an interview on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that the meeting should not go ahead, and the invitation should never have been there in the first place. He added, “What I am opposed to is Theresa May, when she should have gone over to the States to defend our corner and stand up to Donald Trump, has gone over and held his hand and is being seen now as giving him a royal audience in the United Kingdom. She should be standing up for British people and British interests, not going over there and tickling his tummy”.
Leader of the Conservative party in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, also released a statement claiming that the purpose of state visits is “to celebrate and entrench the friendships and shared values” between countries. She went on to conclude that Trump should not be welcomed into the UK as long as he has policies which discriminate against the citizens of the host nation.
Tory MP Sarah Wollaston said in the Guardian that while the visit is likely to go ahead, how it is done would provide an important “symbol”, and this what what people will be watching for. During a lengthy parliamentary debate in January last year, MPs described Trump as a “fool”, a “buffoon” and a “wazzock”.
Together with the petition, campaigners from groups including Stand Up to Racism are planning to organise huge demonstrations which will take place at the same time as the president’s visit. They said on a Facebook event page, “We are committed, along with other campaigning organisations including Stop the War, People’s Assembly against Austerity and CND, to oppose this visit and to organise mass protests if it takes place.”