Downing Street dismisses report Trump state visit delayed
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Downing Street dismisses report Trump state visit delayed

PM spokesman says claim that US president will postpone his trip from June until October is ‘pure speculation’

Protesters holding placards gather near the Houses of Parliament as an anti-Trump protest gets underway in London on February 20, 2017, as parliament debates whether or not to allow Donald Trump a state visit. (AFP/Justin Tallis)
Protesters holding placards gather near the Houses of Parliament as an anti-Trump protest gets underway in London on February 20, 2017, as parliament debates whether or not to allow Donald Trump a state visit. (AFP/Justin Tallis)

LONDON — US President Donald Trump has asked to delay his state visit to Britain later this year to allow public anger over the invitation to recede, it was reported Wednesday.

The Sun tabloid said the trip, originally believed to be planned for June, was now being considered in October following protests and opposition from MPs.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said the report was “pure speculation.”

Another government spokeswoman said: “There’s no possibility of it being pushed back, in that we never had a date announced.”

May extended the invitation for a state visit, a high honor that involves a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II, when she met Trump at the White House in late January.

US President Donald Trump stands with British Prime Minister Theresa May next to a bust of former British prime minister Winston Churchill on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Donald Trump stands with British Prime Minister Theresa May next to a bust of former British prime minister Winston Churchill on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It was part of a charm offensive intended to strengthen bilateral ties as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

But coming at the same time as Trump announced his ban on refugees and travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, it sparked public outrage in Britain.

More than 1.8 million people signed a petition asking for the visit to be cancelled, prompting a debate in parliament where several lawmakers condemned the proposal.

An unnamed government source told The Sun: “Trump still really wants to come this year but he wants the heat to die down a bit first.

“The White House doesn’t want to create a scene for our sake either.”

The paper reported that Trump could make his state visit from October 5 to 8.

This would fall within parliament’s recess, meaning that Trump would be unable to give a speech to lawmakers, as his predecessor Barack Obama did in 2011.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has said he believed Trump should not be allowed the honor.

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