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Protective barrier for Trump will block public view of D-Day spectacle

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

By Ben Mitchell

The public will be prevented from watching the UK's national commemorations of the 75th D-Day anniversary because of a double-layered solid fence being erected to protect US President Donald Trump.

A political row erupted after it was announced Mr Trump would attend the commemoration in Portsmouth, Hampshire, as part of his state visit to the UK.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the President had not been invited and should not attend as he would take attention away from the veterans.

He has now revealed that the event will have to be surrounded by two layers of security fencing, preventing uninvited members of the public from being able to watch the ceremony on Southsea Common, also being attended by the Queen.

He said the only way for people to see the proceedings would be on large screens nearby or at home on television.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said the security measures were being ramped up from those originally planned when the monarch was the only world leader expected to attend.

He added that heads of state of the 14 nations involved in D-Day, as well as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had subsequently all been invited.

He explained: "The whole of Southsea Common will be fenced in which is a large area, part of it will be set aside for protesters because we have to be realistic that protesters will be there.

"The ceremony itself will be behind solid steel barrier walls so people won't be able to see into it and it will now be invite-only. It is a significant increase of security, it's a very different level."

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that Mr Trump should be allowed to address Parliament during his visit to the UK.

Asked at a Westminster lunch whether he would support an address to Parliament, Mr Hunt said: "Yes I would. I think it is very important when you have a state visit by our closest and most important ally that we think about the office as much as the person.

"I hope we make the best possible welcome for President Trump. He is a controversial politician but in the end his visit is about more than Trump's policies, it is about the alliance between the United States and United Kingdom that goes back many, many years. The appropriate thing to do is to show him the best possible welcome."

The speakers of both Houses of Parliament have said that no request has yet been received for Mr Trump to speak in Westminster Hall. Downing Street says it has no control over the decision, which is a matter for Parliament.

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