Theresa May has said she will seek to maintain a “special relationship” with Donald Trump even if he carries out his campaign threat to ban all Muslims from the United States.
The prime minister was today pressed on what “actions” she would take if Trump moved to introduce a ban once he takes office in January.
May has previously criticised Trump, when he was a candidate, for his comments about British Muslims. However she stopped of condemning him today.
“The special relationship we have with the United States is very important I think for both the US and the UK,” she told MPs during prime minister’s questions.
“We will be continuing to build on that special relationship. That was very clear from the conversation I had with president-elect Trump shortly after his election.
“We of course want to ensure the dignity of our citizens. It is up to the United States what rules they put into place in terms of entry across their borders, but we will be ensuring that special relationship continues and continues in the interests of both the UK and the US.”
May was responding to SNP MP Tommy Shepard who asked her: “Many people in this country visit the United States every year to study, on business, or to enjoy one of the greatest countries on Earth.
“What actions she would take if the new president-elect carried though on his campaign promise to discriminate against our citizens on the basis of their religion and will she give a commitment that the special relationship, that she believes her government has with the US presidency, will be conducted on the basis of respect for the dignity of all of our citizens - irrespective of their race or religion?”
Trump’s campaign proposal to ban all Muslims from the United States was widely condemned by British politicians at the time, including then prime minister David Cameron and London’s mayor Sadiq Khan.
However after his election victory, UK ministers have moved to re-build relations with the Republican. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said Trump’s election was a “moment of opportunity” for the UK.
“Donald Trump is dealmaker, he is a guy who believes firmly in values that I believe in too — freedom and democracy. As far as I understand he is in many aspects a liberal guy from New York,” he said yesterday.
Today it was reported Trump’s policy advisers have discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.