LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Tuesday opposed the UK government’s plan to “roll out the red carpet” for Donald Trump, saying the US President should not be accorded the honour as his policies are at odds with many around the world.
“State visits are different from a normal visit and at a time when the President of the USA has policies that many in our country disagree with, I am not sure it is appropriate for our government to roll out the red carpet,” first Asian mayor of London Khan, 46, said yesterday.
“If someone has views that I think can be changed I am ready to play my role. If you somehow think it is not possible to be a Muslim and a proud westerner I am happy to disabuse you of that idea, whether you are a reporter for CNN or Donald Trump,” Pakistan-origin Khan told CNN.
Khan has previously clashed with Trump on Twitter over his decision to bar people from travelling to the US from mainly Muslim countries and the response to the London Bridge terror attack last month.
An invitation to a State Visit to the UK was extended to Trump and US First Lady Melania by British Prime Minister Theresa May on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Washington DC in January this year.
However, there were doubts cast over the visit taking place this year after it was left out of the Queen’s Speech, which lays out all State Visits planned for the UK’s parliamentary calendar.
Some media reports have also been speculating over a recent phone call between Trump and May in which the US President is believed to have expressed his unwillingness to visit the UK this year until coverage around him is fixed to be more positive.
The White House, however, has denied reports of delays over feared public protests in Britain.
There has been considerable opposition in the UK over Trump being accorded all the pomp and pageantry associated with a State Visit.
An online petition against such a visit had attracted over 100,000 signatures earlier this year and debated in the House of Commons as a result.