Trump executive order: UK ministers to press US on ban-NewsCO

January 29, 2017

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Prime Minister Theresa May has told her foreign secretary and home secretary to contact their US counterparts about a travel ban imposed by President Trump.

Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd will make representations about the order barring refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days.

Earlier Mr Johnson tweeted it was “divisive and wrong” to stigmatise people on the basis of nationality.

Mrs May has come under fire for not condemning the order earlier.

After she initially said it was up to the US to decide its policy on refugees, No 10 later issued a statement saying she did “not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking” adding that if there was any impact on UK nationals “then clearly we will make representations to the US government about that.”

A Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, who was born in Iraq, is among those who have said they would not be able to travel to the US while the temporary ban is in place.

British Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia and lives in the US, has also said it is “deeply troubling” that he may have to tell his children he cannot go home.

The prime minister has had a conference call with Mr Johnson and Ms Rudd and instructed them to make representations to their opposite numbers in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, aimed at protecting the rights of British nationals.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been told that both ministers had already been talking to US contacts about a possible British exemption to the executive order. Mr Johnson was talking to Mr Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner, a source said.

Earlier Mr Johnson joined those speaking out against Mr Trump’s executive order halting the entire US refugee programme and instituting a 90-day travel ban for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

He wrote on Twitter: “We will protect the rights and freedoms of UK nationals home and abroad. Divisive and wrong to stigmatise because of nationality.”

Meanwhile, a petition to stop a state visit to the UK by President Trump later this year may be debated in Parliament, after amassing more than 350,000 signatures.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told ITV’s Peston on Sunday it would be “totally wrong” for a proposed state visit to the UK by Mr Trump to go ahead while the row continued.

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News the UK “should not be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump” while the travel ban was in place.

29 January 2017 | 4:07 pm

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