Britain's left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has snubbed an invitation to a state dinner featuring President Trump when Trump visits London in June — foreshadowing the controversy that Trump's visit will likely spark.
“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honor a president who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric,” Corbyn said in a statement.
Trump is visiting the U.K. from June 3-5 to mark the anniversary of D-Day, before traveling to France.
But Corbyn, who came close to entering 10 Downing Street after a tight 2017 general election, has long been a critic of Trump — particularly on the question of immigration. He called for Trump’s working visit last year to be canceled over the controversy surrounding family separation at the border.
In his statement Friday, he focused his attention on the decision to grant Trump a state visit — which includes a formal meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and other ceremonies.
Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is filmed on an ‘eco bus’ in Nottingham, England, Thursday April 25, 2019. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
"Maintaining an important relationship with the United States does not require the pomp and ceremony of a State Visit,” he said. “It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this U.S. administration.”
However, he said that he would “welcome a meeting with President Trump to discuss all matters of interest."
Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who had previously opposed Trump addressing Parliament, have also refused the invitation, according to The Times of London. Left-wing activists have already scheduled protests for Trump's visit, similar to those that Trump's working visit saw last year.
Trump’s visit comes shortly after he has repeated his support for a U.S.-U.K. trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union.
"My administration looks forward to negotiating a large scale Trade Deal with the United Kingdom,” he tweeted last month. “The potential is unlimited!”