Thousands protest as MPs debate Donald Trump's state visit to the UK

MPs debate the petition in Westminster Hall.

Thousands of people have protested across the country as MPs held a debate on Donald Trump's state visit to the UK.

Although the Government has already responded to the petition, saying that while it "recognises the strong views expressed" by the 1.85 million people who signed it, the Republican will be "extended the full courtesy of a State Visit".

In the Westminster Hall debate MPs considered the Prime Minister's decision to extend the invitation to the US President.

The petition did not say that President Trump should not visit the UK, but read: "Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen."

MPs also considered another petition signed by almost 312,000 people demanding the state visit goes ahead.

  • Watch the debate in full.

As the debate took place anti-Trump chants were heard from Parliament Square before the debate, and appeared to die down as Labour MP Paul Flynn opened proceedings.

Anti-Trump protests and those demonstrations in support of migrants took place in numerous other cities across the country, including Newcastle, Cardiff and Glasgow.

Mr Flynn accused President Trump of a "ceaseless incontinence of free speech" and noted the fact that Mr Trump would be only the third US president to be given the honour of a state visit, and said he had been invited too soon in his controversial presidency.

Mr Flynn added that a state visit would put the Queen in a "very difficult position", and the invitation should be changed to one for a visit, not a state visit.

Labour's David Lammy urged MPs to overcome party politics and said African Americans are concerned about a president supported by the KKK and who has white supremacists in his circle.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond called Theresa May's invitation of a state visit "desperation for a trade deal", while Mr Flynn agreed: "The word comes to mind when we think of the circumstances of our beleaguered Prime Minister."

However, others said those opposing the visit were guilty of double standards because they failed to oppose state visits of demagogues.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said if in the past leaders such as Japanese Emperor Hirohito had been given state visits, President Trump should receive one too, a sentiment echoed by Tory MP Nigel Evans.

To which Mr Flynn replied: "Certainly we can't try to imitate the errors of the past. We should set an example of making sure we don't make those mistakes again."

While Conservative MP Julian Lewis said he believed inviting President Trump to the UK was the best guarantee of avoiding World War III.

Hundreds protest outside Parliament over Trumps' visit. Credit: PA