Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures can be considered in Parliament
Increase in signatures comes after Trump announced a controversial travel ban
A petition to stop US President Donald Trump’s making an official state visit to Britain had gained more than a million signatures by Monday, in a backlash to Trump’s controversial ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The petition to ban Trump from making the visit was created on the country’s Government and Parliament website at the end of November, long before Trump’s announcement, and had gained just 372 signatures in two months.
News spread over the weekend of Trump’s travel ban, and by 10 am on Monday, the number of signatures on the petition had soared, and it’s still rising fast.
The ban and its impact
Graham Guest, the British lawyer who created the petition, said he had no specific issue or policy position in mind when he started the petition. It was just Trump the man, really.
“Maybe Trump’s travel ban has angered people and they want him to know what it’s like to be banned from a country,” he wrote to CNN.
The petition says Trump would be allowed into the country, but that an official state visit would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
“Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit,” the petition states.
This is not the first time Trump has faced such calls. In January last year, a petition to ban him from the UK after he made controversial remarks about Muslims gained almost 590,000 signatures and was debated in Parliament, with MPs from all major parties denouncing him. The proposed ban, however, did not go to a vote.
PM Theresa May: ‘We do not agree’
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described Trump’s travel ban as “divisive and wrong,” while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the move was “shameful and cruel.”
Under intense pressure to take a position, Prime Minister Theresa May conceded Sunday, when one of her spokespeople said “we do not agree with this kind of approach,” adding that immigration was a matter for the US to decide on its own.
“We’ve been very clear that the invitation has been extended and it has been accepted,” a spokesperson for May said on Monday after the petition surpassed 1 million signatures.
“The UK and the US have a very strong and close relationship and it’s right that we continue to work together. In terms of the petition being signed, it will be a matter for parliament now on whether it is debated.”
May was the first foreign leader to meet officially with Trump, on Friday in Washington, where Trump accepted an invitation for a reciprocal visit.
According to the rules, any petition with 100,000 signatures or more automatically qualifies for consideration to be debated in Parliament, though there are no guarantees.
Will Guest attend the hearing if it pans out? “Absolutely!”
CNN’s Angela Dewan wrote from London.