A Million Britons Sign Petition Saying No to Trump State VisitBy
Ten times signatures needed to trigger debate in Parliament
Lawmakers don’t have power to force May to rescind invitation
A million people have signed an online petition calling for Donald Trump’s state visit to the U.K. be called off following the U.S. president’s immigration ban targeting Muslim-majority countries. There are 10 times the signatures needed to trigger an almost-automatic debate in Parliament.
Graham Guest, a lawyer from Leeds, northern England, started the initiative that went viral and at one point was garnering 1,000 signatures every minute: “Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by her majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales,” the petition said.
Prime Minister Theresa May last week became the first foreign leader to meet Trump since he became leader, announcing that he would travel to London later this year on a personal invitation from Queen Elizabeth II. Such visits traditionally include a horse-drawn procession, a state banquet and a stay at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
It’s the second time in just over a year that Trump has stirred controversy in Britain. Last January, lawmakers debated whether the Republican candidate should be banned from entering the country for his comments about stopping Muslims from entering the U.S.
Since becoming president, Trump has announced a temporary ban on arrivals from seven mostly Muslim countries and dialed back protections against climate change, both policies that run counter to British positions.
Any petition exceeding 100,000 signatures is eligible for discussion. It’s up to a special Petitions Committee comprised of backbench lawmakers to decide whether to hold a debate in Parliament. While a debate seems almost a certainty, there’s no vote at the end of it and Parliament doesn’t have the power to force May’s hand.
“An invitation has been extended and accepted” by Donald Trump, May’s office said on Monday in a statement.