As we prepared for President Trump’s arrival, I reflected and I can honestly say I could not think of a single policy point on which I agree with President Trump. The UK prides itself on being an open-minded, tolerant society, and Trump’s views are at odds with many of the things we collectively value as a nation.
Like many of you, I’m deeply committed to women’s rights; Trump has a reputation as a sexual predator, and has made deeply sexist comments. Again, our country has an environmental conscience, yet Trump is a climate change denier. Obviously, we all believe in human rights. His administration’s separation of children and parents who have crossed the border from Mexico into the US is despicable. There are many more differences I could list, as I’m sure you could as well.
I’m a passionate pro-European and believe that we need to work together to solve problems that transcend borders. Trump would rather construct walls and shut others out. We live in a global world and the way forward lies in embracing alliances and building on each other’s strengths.
The US is one of the UK’s closest allies and we need to engage in meaningful dialogue with all heads of state, including President Trump. But our government is in complete disarray and I wonder whether Mrs May will be able to stand up to Mr Trump on key issues that directly conflict with our nation’s best interests, including Brexit, trade and defence.
We must build the most constructive relationship possible with the US. But it cannot be at the cost of our environment, our economy, our NHS and our standing as a principled democratic nation. I am very sceptical about so-called free trade deals with the US which our government has touted. Brexit will weaken the UK and as the weaker partner in trade deals, we will naturally be worse off than we are as part of the EU, which is a hugely powerful trading bloc. As far as trade deals with the US are concerned, we can either compete with Iowa or we can have a green Brexit, we can’t have both. If we have to compete with Iowa, the British landscape will be changed forever.
So I am worried about how Trump’s presidency will affect the UK. There are also very worrying questions to be answered about the role of Russia in both the UK Leave campaign and in Trump’s campaign.
There have been peaceful protests all over the country and a major march in London today. They have been called by individuals who are concerned about Trump’s policies and behaviour on the international stage. If the Prime Minister won’t stand up to Trump, then I support the democratic right of our citizens to do so.
Wera Hobhouse is the Lib Dem MP for Bath