Theresa May has ordered Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to telephone their US equivalents to “make representations” about Donald Trump’s travel ban.
A Downing Street spokesperson made the revelation after the Prime Minister faced a barrage of criticism over the way she has reacted to the US President’s new immigration policy.
May refused to condemn the ban on refugees and citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries when asked about during a press conference in Turkey on Saturday, but Downing Street did later issue a statement saying it did “not agree” with the policy.
In a conference call with Rudd and Johnson this morning, May instructed the pair to contact their opposite numbers in the US with aim of protecting the rights of UK nationals affected by the policy – including Somalia-born Olympic hero Sir Mo Farah.
Huff Post UK has learned that Labour will tomorrow demand Johnson appears before MPs to explain what the Government is doing to help Brits affected.
Yet even if Speaker John Bercow grants an urgent question on the matter, Johnson could dodge scrutiny by sending along a Junior Foreign Office minister in his place.
Labour’s Angela Eagle told Huff Post UK now was the time for Johnson to show he was a serious figure in Government.
She said: “MPs will expect to hear from the Foreign Secretary, not one of his junior ministers, on an issue of such importance.
“It’s the first real test of his seriousness. He has to do better than the hours of silence we’ve had from Prime Minister May, otherwise it will show that he really is the clown we thought he was when he was first appointed.”
A spokesperson for Thornberry declined to comment on whether she was going to table an urgent question, but a source close to the Labour leadership said there will “definitely be a UQ [Urgent Question]”.
Trump yesterday signed an Executive Order stopping all refugees entering the US for four months, while those from Syria are banned indefinitely.
He has also stopped all travel from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days.
The four-time Olympic gold winning medalist is currently training in Ethiopia, and under Trump’s ban may not be able to travel home to his Oregon-based family.
Others affected include Iraq-born Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi - now unable to travel to the US to visit his twin sons studying at Princeton University.
On Sunday morning, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a planned state visit by Trump to the UK to be cancelled until the travel bans have been axed.
A petition demanding the trip be stopped as it would cause “embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen” surpassed 400,000 on Sunday evening.