UK's opposition leader, Speaker to snub President Trump with dinner refusals
Jeremy Cobryn, undated photo. EFE/EPA/FILE.
A grab from a handout video made available by the UK Parliamentary Recording Unit shows John Bercow, Speaker of the British Parliament, in London, Britain, Mar. 12, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/UK PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT / HANDOUT
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee in St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Apr. 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/Brian Lawless / POOL
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow (C) arriving at the west door of Canterbury Cathedral, in the county of Kent, south east England for the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's inauguration service Mar. 21, 2013. EPA-EFE/FILE/ANDY RAIN
London, Apr 27 (efe-epa).- The leader of the United Kingdom’s opposition party and the speaker of parliament have both said they will snub the president of the United States by not going to a dinner to be held in his honor during a forthcoming official state visit.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party and John Bercow, who is Speaker of the House of Commons, the lower chamber of Parliament, have declined invitations to attend the State Dinner for Donald Trump due to take place in June.
“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honor a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric,” Corbyn said in a statement.
Trump has accepted an invitation to a previously delayed state visit which is to include a formal white-tie dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
In a statement, the Labour leader said he disagreed with the prime minister’s decision to offer a formal visit to the US leader and confirmed he would not attend any state dinner.
“Maintaining an important relationship with the US doesn't require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit,” Corbyn said. “It's disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration. I'd welcome a meeting with President Trump to discuss all matters of interest,” Corbyn added.
Bercow has long maintained that he would not welcome a state visit by Trump and his refusal to attend a state banquet for the US president was soon added to by others.
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Party and Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party at the parliament of Westminister, have also knocked back invitations while maintaining they would be prepared to meet with Trump.
The state dinner, which is expected to be attended by some 150 guests - political leaders and other public figures with a cultural, economic or diplomatic relationship with the US - will take place June 3, when Trump and his wife, Melania, are due to begin the five-day state visit which is also expected to trigger massive protest demonstrations.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May had said the Conservative Party and government leader wanted to welcome Trump with a view to continuing to build on the what is known in the UK as the two nations' “special relationship."
During their stay, the Trumps will be the guests of the queen and are to attend a ceremony in Portsmouth, in the south of England, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings that started the liberation of northern Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.
The American president, who will be gearing up to his re-election campaign, will also meet with May at her official residence in number 10 Downing Street.
What is not clear is if Trump will be able to go to the Houses of Parliament - as his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton did - because of Bercow’s opposition to the idea which is backed by many lawmakers.
Official state visits can include a formal visit to address both Houses of Parliament together _ the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but Bercow said in 2017 that Trump should not be allowed to make a formal address.
The Speaker pointed to Trump’s controversial ban on migrants from certain Muslim countries to the US.
Trump and his wife made a working visit to the UK in July, something that led to massive demonstrations, especially in London, where the protesters raised a huge blimp-like balloon that represented Trump as a bloated, angry baby in diapers.
Protesters are expected to once again gather for the president’s visit and are considering launching a baby blimp five times larger than the one that became the focal point of the July protests.