U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defied loud heckling from fellow lawmakers in parliament on Monday to defend an invitation to President Donald Trump to visit Britain this year, amid growing controversy over the new U.S. administration’s immigration restrictions.
Hours after a petition calling for the state visit to be cancelled passed a million signatures, Johnson said that President Trump, as leader of the U.K.’s ” closest and most important ally” should be granted the honor of a state visit, The Guardian reports.
Dismayed British M.P.s heckled the Foreign Secretary, with one urging him to “speak out” and another calling the Prime Minister “Theresa the Appeaser”. Protests against the executive order are expected across the U.K.
British Prime Minister Theresa May invited President Trump to the U.K. during her trip to Washington D.C., before he signed an executive order preventing citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
Johnson said that the restrictions would not affect British citizens and that he felt anxious about “measures that discriminate on grounds of nationality in ways that are divisive and wrong.”