Theresa May has been attacked by Labour for offering a “pathetic” and “limp” response to Donald Trump’s order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith told the Commons on Monday afternoon there was no justification for placing people under blanket suspicion based on their country of origin or religion.
“Many of us have been embarrassed and ashamed by our prime minister, for all her rhetoric on Britain leading the world, she decided to hold Donald Trump’s hand instead of holding him to account,” she said.
“This weekend we’ve been shocked and appalled by the US President’s decision to impose a blanket travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. To do this on Friday, Holocaust Memorial Day, only adds to to the horror and outrage that we feel. There is no place for such measures in the fight against terrorism, such actions only inflame tensions.”
May faced a backlash after repeatedly refusing to criticise Trump over the ban when questioned about the policy during a press conference on a visit to Turkey. No. 10 later said the prime minister did “not agree” with the policy and would act to help UK citizens.
May is under pressure to axe the state visit planned for Trump following widespread outrage over the travel ban that has triggered widespread protests across the US.
Trump accepted an invitation to visit Britain later this year, where he is due to be hosted by the Queen and would be treated to all the pomp and ceremony accorded to a state visit.
Nearly one million people have signed a petition to stating Trump should not be given a state visit and it will now be considered for debate by MPs. But No.10 has insisted the visit will go ahead.
Thousands of people are expected to gather outside Downing Street and other locations across the UK on Monday night to protest
Defence secretary Michael Fallon told Griffith that May had conducted a “prompt and successful” visit to the white House last week and said the UK would work with the US to “prevent and reduce radicalisation”. However he avoided discussing the travel ban - leaving that to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who was due to address the Commons later.
There is widespread confusion over whether the ban applies to UK citizens who were born in one of the seven-black listed countries. Johnson has claimed it does not - but the US Embassy has said it does.