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Corbyn pulls out of state banquet for Trump

The Labour leader said Britain should not ‘kowtow’ to a US president who used ‘racist and misogynist rhetoric’.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Danny Lawson/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Danny Lawson/PA)

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not attend the state banquet for Donald Trump when the US president makes his long-awaited state visit to the UK in June.

The Labour leader said Prime Minister Theresa May was wrong to “kowtow” to a president who tore up international treaties and used “racist and misogynist rhetoric”.

In a statement, he said that he would however be prepared to meet Mr Trump during his stay to discuss “all matters of interest”.

It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration Jeremy Corbyn

“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honour a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric,” Mr Corbyn said.

“Maintaining an important relationship with the United States does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit.

“It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration.

“I would welcome a meeting with President Trump to discuss all matters of interest.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has already turned down an invitation to the banquet, saying he believed the invitation to Mr Trump had been issued “inappropriately”.

The white tie dinner banquet at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen, is always one of the key events of any state visit.

It is traditionally attended by senior politicians – including the leader of the opposition – and other dignitaries.

Mr Corbyn attended a state banquet in honour of Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly after becoming Labour leader in 2015.

However, during the last state visit – made by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in October – he was represented by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.

On that occasion, he was believed to have been attending a family event.

The Labour leader also missed the banquets staged to mark the July 2017 visit of King Felipe VI of Spain, and the official visit of the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016.

Mr Trump’s visit is highly controversial and is expected to attract mass demonstrations.

The Prime Minister was widely was widely criticised for inviting the US leader to make a state visit just days into his presidency in 2017.

Mr Trump will hold bilateral talks with Mrs May at Downing Street during the
visit from June 3-5, and will take part in commemorations in Portsmouth marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

PA

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