Donald Trump’s State visit to Britain is set to be delayed until October to curb mass protests, Dailymail reports. Theresa May invited Mr Trump to Britain during talks at the White House just days after he became President.
At the time, sources said the trip was pencilled in for the first week in June. But the plan has been knocked off course by controversy about Mr Trump’s travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries, which sparked a petition signed by 1.8 million people calling for the visit to be cancelled.
Downing Street yesterday said ‘no decision’ had been taken over the timing of the visit.
Mrs May was keen to press ahead with the trip as planned, and a rival petition calling for Mr Trump to be granted a State visit was signed by more than 300,000 people.
But a senior Whitehall source said the trip was likely to be delayed until the first week of October.
The delay means that Parliament will be in recess, making it impossible for MPs to ‘snub’ the President by refusing him the honour of making an address.
Officials believe the delay could also allow tempers to cool over Mr Trump’s controversial policies – and that the autumn weather may be less conducive to mass protests than holding the visit in the summer.
The delay is said to have been suggested by Mr Trump during a phone call to Mrs May last month.
A senior Whitehall source said: ‘The Americans have asked to push it back. They don’t want what will be one of his first big foreign trips to be overshadowed.’
Planners are also looking at shifting much of the visit to the Queen’s residence at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire, a move which could act as a further deterrent to protesters.
The President could spend as little as one day in London before heading to Scotland where his mother Mary was born.