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The New Arab

British MPs to debate cancelling Trump state visit

Two petitions will be debated by the UK parliament over Trump's upcoming state visit [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 January, 2017

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MPs will debate whether US President Donald Trump should be granted a UK state visit after mass public engagement by millions called for the trip to be cancelled.
British parliamentarians will hold a debate on US President Donald Trump's state visit after a petition was signed by 1.6 million people calling for the trip to be cancelled.

The petition argues that the visit should be called off in order to avoid embarrassing the UK's monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

The announcement of the February 20 debate comes a day after nationwide anti-Trump protests around the UK.

Lawmakers are also set to debate a second petition calling for the state visit to go ahead, which has gained over 100,000 signatures.

This follows the procedures of the British government's petition system, which requires that topics to be considered for parliamentary debate if more than 100,000 signatures are received.

Since signing an executive order on Friday banning immigration to the US from seven Muslim majority countries, protest movements have mobilised worldwide in opposition to the discriminatory measures. In addition to the 90-day ban, the order also enacts a 120-day ban on refugees from entering the US.

While it is unlikely that the UK will cancel a state visit from its most senior ally, there remains the possibility that the visit could be downgraded to an unofficial trip. This would remove the need for a meeting between Trump and the British monarch.

The former business tycoon has in the past made several disparaging comments about Britain's royal family, including saying that he could have "nailed" the late Princess Diana, just weeks after she had died. 

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