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UK politicians open fire on US President

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    Posted: November 30 2017 at 1:28pm

Donald Trump: London Mayor, UK politicians open fire on US President for retweet of far-right group

Updated 9 minutes ago

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VIDEO: British PM criticises Trump retweet (ABC News)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has doubled down on her criticism of Donald Trump's retweets of a British far-right group, as the Mayor of London adds his voice to mounting calls for her to revoke an invitation for the US President to make an official state visit to Britain.

Key points:

  • PM Theresa May's official spokesman says President Donald Trump was "wrong" to retweet a British far-right group
  • MPs weighed in on the situation accusing Mr Trump of "promoting the hate-filled ideology of fascism"
  • The friction between the two countries comes as Britain prepares to leave the EU and forge new economic relationships

Mr Trump's retweeting of anti-Muslim videos from far-right fringe group Britain First has been widely condemned in Britain.

The UK ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, complained to the White House and Ms May's official spokesman said the President was wrong to have done it.

In response, Mr Trump urged Ms May to focus on "the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom", rather than on him.

Ms May countered that "we take the need to deal with the terrorist threat very seriously".

"The fact that we work together does not mean that we are afraid to say when we think that the United States have got it wrong and to be very clear with them," Ms May said on Thursday during a visit to Amman, Jordan.

"I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do."

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also added his voice to mounting calls for Ms May to cancel Mr Trump's invitation to make a state visit.

Mr Khan said on Thursday that Mr Trump has promoted "a vile, extremist group", and an official visit by him to Britain "would not be welcomed".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told MPs that "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right".

"This Government will not tolerate any groups that spread hate by demonising those of other faiths or ethnicities," she said.

Trump peddling 'hate crime' on Twitter: MP

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons other MPs criticised Mr Trump in unusually blunt language.

Opposition Labour's Naz Shah accused him of promoting "the hate-filled ideology of fascism".

Conservative Tim Loughton said Twitter should take down Trump's account for peddling "hate crime".

"By sharing [the videos], he is either a racist, incompetent or unthinking, or all three," Labour politician Stephen Doughty said.

Britain's Middle-East Minister Alistair Burt tweeted: "The White House tweets are both alarming and despairing tonight. This is so not where the world needs to go."

As Minister for the Middle East, proud of our relationships with the Islamic world and those within it, the White House tweets are both alarming and despairing tonight. This is so not where the world needs to go.

Ms May has sought to cultivate a close relationship with Mr Trump, visiting him in Washington days after his inauguration in January and extending the offer of a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Twitter storm has prompted renewed calls for the invitation to be rescinded.

Mr Trump had already faced strong opposition in Britain over his attempt to ban travel to the US from several majority-Muslim countries.

Ms Rudd told politicians in the House of Commons that the invitation had been accepted and the visit was planned, though "the dates and the precise arrangements have yet to be agreed".

Ms Rudd also welcomed a suggestion by Conservative politician Peter Bone that Mr Trump delete his Twitter account.

"I'm sure many of us might share his view," Ms Rudd said.

Trump's trip likely to be delayed

Calls to cancel the invitation for Mr Trump's proposed state visit have put Queen Elizabeth II — who would host the US President — in a difficult position.

In Britain's constitutional monarchy, the Queen invites foreign leaders to state visits — regarded as a great honour — on the advice of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In this case, it was Ms May who extended the invitation to Mr Trump on the Queen's behalf just days after he assumed office.

It would be extremely awkward for the Queen to take back the invitation, and there is no indication the Foreign Office wishes her to do so.

Instead, a convenient delay is more likely — as suggested in Parliament on Thursday.

Labour Party politician Kevin Brennan said the 91-year-old Queen has a busy year coming up with the anticipated birth of a new great-grandchild and the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

"Don't those facts alone justify the Government announcing a postponement of the state visit by the President of the United States for at least, say, three years?" he asked.

Both governments say the state visit is still on but that no date has been set.

In the meantime, Mr Trump could come to Britain for high-level meetings on a trip that is not treated as a state visit, which is an event that follows well-scripted protocol.


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