Published on 30 Jan 2017

Theresa May told a US refugee ban was coming

Team Trump told Theresa May when she was in the White House that they were about to ban refugees from coming to the US, using an Executive Order. The US administration team don’t appear to have gone into detail about what exactly they planned for dual nationals. It’s not clear whether they listed Muslim countries from which visitors would be banned.

What is clear is that there was enough of a sniff of a major switch in US policy flagged up in the White House to suggest you really ought to have an opinion on it.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) participate in a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But many hours later in Ankara, Mrs May was still reluctant to share her views on President Trump’s ban on visitors from seven Muslim countries, only answering the question after three attempts from journalists and even then failing to take a view on it.

After a conference call with the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary on Sunday morning, a line was handed down to reporters criticising the US policy. Meanwhile, Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson were put to work trying to clarify and amend the treatment of British passport holders following a whole series of complaints of discrimination from Olympic athletes to Tory MPs.

The line on whether UK holders of dual nationality were able to enter the US zig-zagged around all day. The government said late morning that it was all cleared up and they were fine to enter the US. The advice on the US Embassy website seemed to contradict that as it did on other US Embassies in EU countries. They simply hadn’t caught up, was the explanation.

The government said the UK was not getting a special deal because of the special relationship: if other EU countries rang up they’d discover they were entitled to the same arrangements.

By 4.30pm, when Boris Johnson stood up in the Commons, that line had changed too: the UK had a special carve out. Dual nationality, even if your other nationality is one of the seven listed countries, will get you access to the US. The Foreign Secretary attacked the US policy as divisive and unhelpful but also attacked Labour for “demonising” President Trump. Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry mocked the Prime Minister for the delay in coming to any view on what she said was a flagrant breach of human rights.

US President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House on January 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In parallel to these developments, all day the pressure to disinvite President Trump from the state visit planned for this summer has been gathering.

It meant that Theresa May and Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister, had an ice-breaker to kick off talks this afternoon at Dublin Castle. Both now have popular anti-Trump petitions gaining strength at home – in the Taoiseach’s case to cancel a St Patrick’s Day trip to Washington, in the PM’s to stop the State Visit.

The Queen loathes being in any proximity to an issue that divides her realm. The mapping of petition signers suggests support for a Trump ban is strongest in pro-Remain areas, but those might be the sort of areas that are more prone to sign petitions.

Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, has seen himself in a lot of newspaper stories today with the suggestion that Donald Trump doesn’t want an earful from the Prince of Wales on climate change if they end up meeting.

The two have met at least once before, in 2005 in New York. Donald Trump back then said what a great guy the Prince of Wales was.

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10 reader comments

  1. Paul says:

    The banning of these immigrants is only the same as uk have opted for so why all the fuss you can guess that the most of these moaning was the brexit group who wants immigration stopped Donald trump has the balls to do it will there be protests when we leave the eu and stop all the immigration

  2. Paul says:

    Why the fuss this is the same as uk brexit want to stop immigration will we have protests when we leave the eu good on trump how many of these moaning opted (BREXIT)for what trump has done. Stop all immigration was the main reason for brexit

  3. paul says:

    Great scoop. But it is wrong to say she did not have an opinion on it when questioned in Turkey. She did – she said very clearly she thought it matter only for the US. She changed her mind 24 hours later when she realised that view would not be shared by many voters. In short, our MP is an empty, unprincipled woman who always puts politics above principle.

  4. David Shindler says:

    Donald Trump is pro – actively protecting his country. There should be another poll set up that allows other people apart from the activist disruptive groups who are trying to hi jack democracy. More power to Trump we can learn lessons from him in the UK, many of us older UK citizens are supporters of Trump and Brexit

  5. Miss holt says:

    This man is evil pure evil..He doesn’t care for us citizens he’s just in it for the power ..A man like him could start world war 3..I’d be ashamed to be an American..Oh hang on his not a true American

  6. Rita flamini says:

    It looks like the state visit was one of Theresa May’s bargaining chips to allow her to say he was 100 percent behind NATO (though he said not a word).
    Whatever was discussed in private it is clear she is compromised.

  7. David Fouse says:

    I’m all for President Donald J Trumps band on the threads to protect our country, America 1st & it’s about time!

  8. Offering says:

    Who organised people in 60 counteries to organise demos around the same time? National security agents would do well to investigate. People are free to protest but where were they when groups such as Isis and their associates were butchering people because of their culture, race and religion. Half truths can trade lies such as the tempetuous Trump blamed for barring certain counteries. He close the same nations that Obama had identified. I suspect that in UK there are elements who want upheaval to disrupt Brexit.

  9. Jane Ashby says:

    It is nomal to read an executive order, analyse its content, obtain legal advice before commenting on another sovereign country’s plans. You and many of your colleagues are being unfair to the PM. You acknowledge she was not provided detail yet expect her to reply instantly to questions. Shameful. I have no truck with the US President but he was elected fairly and I, having once worked for NATO can tell you that we rely on the US for our security as does the rest of Europe. We also need a trade deal. The US system has sufficient checks and balances to ensure that Mr Trump can not do as he so wishes. Further, concerns about policy are appropriately raised via the Foreign Office. I do not live in London and can assure you the hysteria I am witnessing is not shared in rural England.

  10. Alan says:

    So the Queen loathes issues that divide her realm?
    Then why not adhere to the coronation oath? Too long have we suffered from an opportunistic parliament filled with those obsessed with self enrichment.

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