In the same week, the President stated that he favours the return of the use of torture such as water boarding; withdrawn State department funds for abortion and family planning; and has halted inbound travel to the United States from seven countries with majority Muslim populations; initiated a four month ban on refugees entering the United States and an indefinite ban on refugees fleeing the war in Syria, along with dissidents from all these states who have found safe haven in the US.
These actions run contrary to our values, our humanitarian obligations as signatories to the Geneva Convention, and play in to the hands of hostile actors such as Daesh and will potentially undermine our national security and our wider interests.
They also run counter to the idea of a ’Special Relationship’ between the UK and US. While the Prime Minister must of course respect the election of President Trump, she is also under no obligation whatsoever to afford him the same privileges as previous US Presidents were when visiting the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister has undermined this relationship by forgetting that the strongest friendships are a two-way process, and require either party to be honest when they see the other talking steps that could damage it.
As such, I will be writing to the Prime Minister and urging her to suspend plans to welcome the United States President on an official state visit. Until the UK Government can achieve concrete assurances that the United States will adhere to its Geneva Convention obligations in full, then now is not the time to be rolling out the red carpet to the President, allowing him to meet the Queen, or address both Houses of Parliament.
These actions have already impacted on a number of UK citizens and residents whom the Prime Minister has a supreme obligation to. Her wider obligation to those fleeing persecution and war compel her not to just issue meek press statements, but show us she can tackle these issues head on.
Finally, no one doubts that the long-standing friendship with the United States is our most important bilateral relationship: this is a bond based on shared values, history and economic ties. It is a relationship that is far stronger than one that could be broken by the election of one man: but only if the Prime Minister stays true to the definition of a ‘relationship’ in deed as well as in word.