‘Dumping Trump’: Fury as president’s UK state visit could be relocated to Birmingham
Local MPs and activists have hit out at suggestions by the White House that the US president’s visit could be relocated to the Midlands, with Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, saying Trump and his “divisive rhetoric, policies and Muslim ban is not welcome here.”
The proposal has reportedly been made to allow the newly elected president to address a rally in Brexit’s heartland, where it is hoped he will receive a warmer welcome, as he supported Britain’s exit from the EU.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a source close to the president said: “It would be his biggest rally with 85,000 people coming together to celebrate the US-UK special relationship.
“If he is not speaking to the Houses of Parliament, let’s go to the people.”
Concerns have been raised however about the possible cost of security and policing the expected mass protests.
Author and Guardian columnist Owen Jones, one of the founders of Stop Trump Coalition, a cross-party initiative against the president, said: “Donald Trump’s state visit will be marked by the biggest protest against racism and hatred in our country’s history.
“It doesn’t matter where he goes. We will march in our millions against him, and our government’s collusion, in every town and city in Britain.”
Birmingham Labour MP Liam Byrne has launched a campaign to ban the president from the city, while accusing Downing Street of attempting to “dump Trump on us.”
“What the government is trying to do is dump the Trump on us and we don’t want him,” Byrne said.
Thousands of people from 36 localities across the country have already taken to the streets in protest against Trump and his policies, with the biggest turnout in London, where 40,000 rallied on Whitehall against the so-called Muslim ban.
Protesters also criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for inviting Trump to the UK while meeting him for the first time in Washington, and for having a seemingly soft stance towards the president’s controversial policies.
A petition calling for Trump to be banned from entering the country on a state visit because it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen” will be debated in Parliament on February 20.
Public figures such as the singers Lily Allen and Paloma Faith also joined calls for Trump’s visit to be blocked.
But Trump’s controversial policies, particularly his executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, have also caused trouble for the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
He is potentially facing a vote of no confidence after saying Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament because he is “racist” and “sexist” – breaking his duty to stay neutral.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” Bercow said last week.
On Sunday, leader of the House of Commons David Lidington told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “no venue” had yet been set for Trump and that his visit was still “under discussion between the two governments.”