A DEFIANT Theresa May insisted she is ‘very happy’ to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump as tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Britain yesterday over his proposed state visit.
The prime minister said she ‘looked forward’ to welcoming the tycoon, who has been condemned for banning refugees and people from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.
She was branded ‘Theresa the Appeaser’ by an MP in the Commons as the number of people backing a petition against the visit reached 1.5million.
But her spokesman said: ‘To be clear, the prime minister extended an invitation on behalf of the Queen — and she was very happy to do so.
‘The USA is one of this country’s closest allies and we look forward to hosting the president later this year.’
Anti-Trump demonstrations were held last night in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Newcastle, York, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.
Mrs May, who has said she disagrees with the president’s visa ban, was criticised in parliament for failing to strongly condemn it.
Green MP Caroline Lucas accused her of being ‘complicit with tyranny’, while Labour MP Mike Gapes dubbed her Theresa the Appeaser.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the latest information from the US was that Britons with ties to countries hit by the ban would be totally unaffected by Mr Trump’s executive order.
But Labour’s Yvette Cooper told him: ‘This order was signed on Holocaust Memorial Day. For the sake of history, have the guts to speak out.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘The ban is illegal as well as immoral. We should stand up for the values we believe in — we don’t discriminate.’
In a letter to Mrs May, Mr Corbyn said she risked being on the ‘wrong side of history’ if she allowed the state visit. He likened the situation to a controversy in 1984 when Margaret Thatcher welcomed South African apartheid leader PW Botha for talks at Chequers as Nelson Mandela languished in jail.
However, Mr Johnson said: ‘To the best of my knowledge, both Nicolae Ceausescu and Robert Mugabe have been entertained by the Queen.
‘I think most members of the House would concede it is our duty and the right thing to do to put in preparations now for receiving our friend, our partner, and the most important ally we have.’
Former president Barack Obama — who met the Queen last year — said he ‘fundamentally disagrees’ with Mr Trump’s entry ban on travellers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.