Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

I was not forewarned of Trump's 'divisive and wrong' refugees ban, says May

Theresa May has insisted she was not given prior warning by US President Donald Trump of his ban on refugees, which she branded "divisive and wrong".

Pressed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister's Question Time as to why Downing Street had failed to deny she had advance notice of some of the aspects of the travel restrictions on Muslims and refugees, Mrs May said President Trump had campaigned on the issue.

"If he is asking me whether I had advance notice of the ban on refugees, the answer is no. If he is asking me if I had advance notice that the executive order could affect British citizens, the answer is no.

"If he is asking if I had advance notice of the travel restrictions, the answer is we all did, because President Trump said he was going to do this in his election campaign."

The PM was dismissive of Mr Corbyn's call for her cancel the US president's planned state visit after an anti-Trump petition to Parliament was backed by 1.8 million people.

"He can lead a protest, I'm leading a country," Mrs May said.

The Prime Minister attacked Mr Corbyn for having a foreign policy which aimed to "insult" the democratically elected head of Britain's most important ally.

Mrs May d efended the Government's record in ensuring that British citizens would not be affected by the travel restrictions.

"On the policy that President Trump has introduced, this Government is clear that that policy is wrong.

"We wouldn't do it, in six years as home secretary I never introduced such a policy.

"We believe it is divisive and wrong.

"The question is how you respond.

"The job of Government is not to chase the headlines, the job of Government is not to take to the streets in protest.

"The job of Government is to protect the interests of British citizens and that is exactly what we did."

The Labour leader said: "At last week's Prime Minister's Question Time, the Prime Minister told the House 'I'm not afraid to speak frankly to the President of the United States'. What happened?"

"The Prime Minister said the United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees, but, surely, it is the responsibility of all of us to defend the 1951 Refugee Convention which commits this country, the United States, and 142 other states, to accept refugees without regard to their race, religion, or country of origin? President Trump has breached that convention; why didn't she speak out?"

Meanwhile, the man behind a pro-Trump petition, which has attracted more than 200,000 signatures, told BBC 5 live the idea was suggested by his 13-year-old daughter, who composed the wording.

Alan Brown said: "I was having a discussion with my daughter about this, and she said, 'Well, if you feel so strongly, why don't you do your own petition?' So I said that I wouldn't know how, so she said 'OK, I'll do it for you'. So my daughter actually raised the petition."


From Belfast Telegraph