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  1. ITV Report

Jeremy Corbyn declines invitation to State dinner with Donald Trump when president visits UK

Jeremy Corbyn will not attend the State Banquet during Donald Trump's visit. Credit: PA

Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has declined an invitation to a State Banquet with Donald Trump when the US President visits the UK in June.

The Labour leader, who took part in protests during Donald Trump's "working visit" to the UK in July, criticised Theresa May for "rolling out the red carpet" for a president who "rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric".

He added: "It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration."

He said maintaining an "important relationship" with the US does not require the "pomp and ceremony of a State Visit".

Mr Corbyn did say he would "welcome" a meeting with President Trump but only to "discuss all matters of interest".

Donald Trump met the Queen in July 2018. Credit: PA

As tradition goes, on the first evening of the State Visit, Mr Trump will be treated to a lavish banquet attended by around 170 guests - that number will include the Prime Minster, the Queen, the leaders of the major political parties, and some of the Royals.

The US President has already met the Queen, when she greeted him and First Lady Melania Trump on his last UK visit.

Although the July 2018 was a "working visit" and not a State Visit, Mr Trump's time in the UK resulted in huge protests across the country.

Protests in London were attended by around 100,000 - including a huge Trump baby blimp which was hoisted in Parliament Square during the American leader’s visit.

Protesters behind the notorious blimp hope it will take to the skies again when the President returns.

The Trump baby blimp floated over Parliament Square in summer 2018. Credit: PA

Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want and an organiser of the Stop Trump Coalition, described the blimp as an asset of their campaign and said they were confident of getting a licence to allow it to be flown.

Mr Rehman said: “Wherever it flies it will be close to Buckingham Palace and Donald Trump will have no option but to see himself up there in the sky.

"We have to negotiate where and when, but we’re confident it will be flying.

There have been many controversial leaders granted a state visit in the past, which include King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr Corbyn, who has been outspoken on policies of world leaders which he does not agree with, did attend Mr Xi's State banquet, despite protests over China's human rights record.

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In fact, Mr Corbyn's refusal to attend Mr Trump's banquet is so unusual, ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand thinks this is "possibly [the] first time a leader of the opposition has refused to attend an event with a US President".

The Labour leader also missed the banquets staged to mark the July 2017 visit of King Felipe VI of Spain, and the official visit of the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016.

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Mr Trump will hold bilateral talks with Mrs May at Downing Street during the visit from June 3-5, and will take part in commemorations in Portsmouth marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has already turned down an invitation to the banquet, saying he believed the invitation to Mr Trump had been issued "inappropriately".