Theresa May under pressure to cancel Donald Trump state visit over Nazi row
Labour MPs have led fresh calls for Donald Trump's state visit to the UK to be cancelled after he drew equivalence between white supremacists and anti-fascist protesters.
The US president sparked fresh uproar last night when he appeared to backtrack on his earlier condemnation of white supremacists who took part in a protest march in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He said there was “blame on both sides” for the violence which followed the rally, in which one woman died and 20 more were injured when a car rammed into a crowd of anti-fascists.
Speaking at Trump Tower in New York, the president said: "What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?
"What about the fact they came charging – that they came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do."
Theresa May today insisted there was "no equivalence" between the two groups involved in the violence - but stopped short of condemning President Trump directly.
"I think it's important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them," she said.
But former Labour frontbencher Chuka Umunna said the Prime Minister had not gone far enough, and said she should scrap plans to honour the president with a state visit to the UK.
Fellow Labour MP Mike Gapes also said the state visit should not take place.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the visit should be postponed indefinitely in light of President Trump's latest controversy.
He said: "There should not be a state visit any time soon. When racism raises its head, in any form, in any place, anywhere, it's up to all of us to condemn it and call it out for what it is."
Meanwhile, former government minister Crispin Blunt called for the visit to be put off until 2020 to coincide with the celebrations to mark 400 years since the pilgrim fathers first landed in America.
He said that could avoid any "public order" problems associated with a Trump visit at the present time.
"It’s a hugely important anniversary for them and we should make a state visit by the president of the United States around that anniversary," he told Radio Four's World At One.
"I think that’s an elegant way out of this and I’ve been saying it for some time and continue to say it, and I think it’s very sensible, the right way forward out of what is obviously going to be a very difficult situation and very probably quite a big public order problem as well.
"If you could arrange this state visit after the presidential election in 2020, which would mean he’s either in the sort of honeymoon into a second term, if he’s re-elected or it’s the end of his presidency, but it then becomes much more about the anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers than Donald Trump, and I think it then respects the relationship between our two nations and I think that’s a better way of doing it and you take the element of Donald Trump, as far as you can, out of the visit."
Number 10 had initially said the visit would take place this summer, but it emerged last month that it will not take place until next year at the earliest.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. No date has yet been fixed."
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