The U.K. government has said that it believes President Donald Trump “should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit” and that it does not support a petition signed by more than 1.85 million people to bar him from an official visit.
In a statement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office explained that while the government “recognises the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition” it is rejecting the petition and will instead welcome President Trump “once dates and arrangements are finalised”.
“During her visit to the United States on 27 January 2017, the Prime Minister, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited President Trump for a State Visit to the UK later this year. The invitation was accepted. This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit,” the statement reads.
The petition allowed for Trump to enter the U.K. in his capacity as head of the U.S. government, but called for him not to be invited to make an official state visit because it would “cause embarrassment” to the Queen.
“Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit,” it reads.
A counter petition, called ‘Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom,’ has attracted more than 309,000 signatures. “Donald Trump should be invited to make an official State Visit because he is the leader of a free world and [the] U.K. is a country that supports free speech and does not believe that people that [oppose] our point of view should be gagged,” the description says.
Both petitions will be debated by the House of Commons on Feb. 20.