SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has made an impassioned call in the House of Commons for the invitation to US President Donald Trump to make a state visit to the UK to be withdrawn.
Speaking during last night’s ‘Emergency debate on US immigration policy’ in the House of Commons, Mr Durkan said: “My issue with the Prime Minister is not so much that she was holding Donald Trump’s hand when she met him on Friday; it was that she stayed her hand when it came to responding to the Executive order. A clear, unequivocal response should have been given and none was available. That sent a dangerous signal to many people who are worried, fearful and angry, both here and across the world.
“This (Executive order) is the drive-by prejudice, xenophobia and racism that pass for governance in the Trump age, and this President now has the fastest-ever invitation for a state visit, which appalls and disgusts many people.
“To those who are saying that we cannot reconsider the invitation, I say that we should. We should not be afraid of offending the narcissism of this man when we are prepared to offend the fear and disgust that we know many, many people feel about this Executive order and other statements and practices of the early Trump presidency.
“Let us be very clear that it is about the signal that is sent if it goes ahead as a state visit, with all the pomp and ceremony that that allows. It is not just about the message that it sends to Muslims or to the countries that are subject to the ban; it is about the message that it sends to people here and in America. It is also about the signal that it sends to the people in America who have honestly been trying to stand up and be progressive and supportive of refugees. President Trump is almost indicting the sanctuary cities in the States. He is now listing them as almost un-American for the support they are prepared to accord refugees and the stand that they are prepared to take on human rights. He is criticising civic and pastoral leaders in America. What signal do they get if Donald Trump is received and applauded here?
“How many of us have stood at different events in this House and said, “We will show racism a red card. We will show sectarianism a red card”? Well, we are not showing them the red card by inviting President Trump here on a state visit. The invitation should be reversed if we want to send a straight and clear message.”