Jeremy Corbyn was accused of ‘staggering’ hypocrisy last night after snubbing the Queen’s invitation to a state banquet with Donald Trump.
Despite his record of meeting terrorists and extremists, the Labour leader yesterday said he would refuse to attend the dinner with Mr Trump at Buckingham Palace in June.
In an extraordinary statement, Mr Corbyn accused the US President of engaging in ‘racist and misogynistic rhetoric’ and of backing ‘climate change denial’. He criticised Theresa May for ‘kowtowing’ to Washington and ‘rolling out the red carpet’.
Commons Speaker John Bercow, another prominent Trump critic, has also decided to snub the Queen’s invitation. Last night Mr Corbyn’s stance triggered a backlash from Tory MPs who said his ‘pathetic gesture’ made him ‘unfit to be Prime Minister’. Several pointed to the list of controversial figures he has sat down with in the past – including representatives of the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, convicted IRA volunteers, Gerry Adams, President Assad of Syria, as well as President Maduro of Venezuela.
Jeremy Corbyn (left) with Sinn Fein’s former president Gerry Adams (right) at the House of Commons
Donald Trump (pictured today at the National Rifle Association’s Annual meeting) will be the Queen’s guest during a three-day visit to the UK
Jeremy Corbyn (right) also met with Mr Xi Jinping (left) during his state visit to the UK
Jeremy Corbyn in Tunisia in October 2014 laying wreaths on the graves of Palestinians in 2014
Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said Mr Corbyn was clearly ‘unfit’ to lead the country.
‘Jeremy Corbyn dislikes his own country, dislikes the monarchy and dislikes the national anthem, yet he is friends with Mr Maduro of Venezuela,’ he said.
‘Hypocrisy is the basis of his politics: It shows bad judgment that he refuses to sit down with our closest ally and our head of state. His ideology makes him unfit to be Prime Minister. He will not be missed. This is a pathetic gesture.’
Jeremy Corbyn today snubbed the Queen’s invite to attend a State Banquet for Donald Trump (right today) calling the US President a ‘racist and misogynist’
The statement from Jeremy Corbyn (above) which outlined that he would welcome a private meeting with President Trump
Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, pointed out that Mr Corbyn had attended a state banquet for China’s President Xi Jinping, who has been accused of human rights abuses, in 2015.
‘Given the people he has broken bread with … I think it’s a level of hypocrisy that is really quite staggering,’ he said.
Mr Corbyn (left) arriving for the state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London for President of China Xi Jinping in 2015. He won’t be doing the same for Mr Trump
Mr Corbyn announced his decision in a statement yesterday, days after it was confirmed that Mr Trump will make a full state visit from June 3-5.
The Labour leader said: ‘Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honour a President who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric.
‘Maintaining an important relationship with the US does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit. It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration.’ He added, however, that he was willing to meet with the President to discuss ‘all matters of interest’.
It is thought to be unprecedented for a leader of the Opposition to refuse to attend the formal dinner with the head of state of the United Kingdom’s closest international ally.
Mr Corbyn previously criticised the US President and joined 100,000 protesters who flew a blimp of Mr Trump as a baby when he came to Britain last year.
Several Tory MPs last night criticised Mr Corbyn’s decision. Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, said: ‘It’s reassuringly stupid and very bad manners. After all, the President of the United States, no matter what Corbyn’s views, or anyone else’s, is an official guest of the Queen.
Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t resist an opportunity to return to his protesting days as he took to the streets along with 100,000 others to demonstrate against President Trump’s visit to the country last year
‘It’s not at all clever or grown up of him to refuse to attend. But it is true to form for Corbyn. All Corbyn’s friends are people who are enemies of this country – Hamas, the IRA, the Venezuelan government.’
Lest we forget… he WILL sit down with IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah
Mr Corbyn has a long history of meeting killers, terrorist groups and other figures who approve of violence.
Mr Corbyn called the terror group his ‘friends’ in 2009. He’s also met leaders of the organisation that has carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians it accuses of ‘collaborating’ with Israel.
In 2014 he attended a ‘peace conference’ in Tunisia, where he laid a wreath near the graves of Palestinian terrorists responsible for the massacre of Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
As a newly elected MP in 1983 he invited IRA apologist Gerry Adams to Parliament. The two men met on other occasions during the 1980s, when the IRA was at the height of its terror campaign. He also invited two convicted IRA volunteers to tea in Westminster in 1984, just two weeks after the Brighton bomb, which killed five people at the Tory Party conference.
In 1996, the year of the Docklands and Manchester bombings, he again invited suspected IRA terrorists to Parliament.
Officials from the Lebanese group, classified by the US government as a terror organisation and which has called for the destruction of Israel, were invited by Mr Corbyn to a meeting in 2009. He said: ‘It will be my pleasure and honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking.’
Xi Jinping of China
In 2015 he attended a state banquet with President Xi Jinping of China, who has been accused of human rights abuses. Prince Charles is believed to have refused to attend over China’s record.
Bashar al-Assad of Syria
The Labour leader accepted a free trip to meet President Assad of Syria funded by the Palestinian lobbyists who organised an event at which Jews were blamed for the Holocaust.
Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela
In 2006, Mr Corbyn shared a platform with the Venezuelan president. Mr Maduro has been accused of a violent crackdown on opponents which has led to hundreds of deaths and bankrupted the oil-rich country. The hardline president has called Mr Corbyn a ‘friend of Venezuela’.
Bob Seely said: ‘This raises serious questions about Jeremy Corbyn’s fitness to govern when he will snub an invitation from the Queen but is more than happy to have a takeaway with terrorists.’
Fellow Tory Simon Hart said: ‘The UK relationships with hundreds of countries are with the office (which is permanent) rather than the individual (who isn’t). Given the world leaders that Jeremy Corbyn is happy to mix with, it seems odd to exclude our oldest ally.’
And Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said: ‘I think’s it’s wholly wrong that the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition is refusing to attend a state banquet hosted by the sovereign.
‘The US is Britain’s closest ally, whatever your views on Donald Trump. If nothing else, it is a missed opportunity for Mr Corbyn to tell the President of the United States what he thinks.’
Mr Trump will make his state visit as Britain and the US mark 75 years since D-Day. British taxpayers face an £18million bill to host him. His working visit last year attracted huge protests and additional policing costs ran into the millions.
The President and his wife Melania will be guests of the Queen during the three-day visit, although they have not been invited to stay at Buckingham Palace because it is undergoing renovation works.
Mr Trump will hold talks with Mrs May at Downing Street and will take part in commemorations in Portsmouth marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. However, he will not get a carriage ride down The Mall because of security fears.
The white tie banquet at the palace, hosted by the Queen, is always one of the key events of any state visit. It is traditionally attended by senior politicians – including the Leader of the Opposition – and other dignitaries.
Invitations for state visits are issued by the Lord Steward, on behalf of The Queen. Buckingham Palace will not confirm the guest list in advance, but there are generally 170 guests at a state banquet.
Mr Trump’s visit is highly controversial and is expected to attract mass demonstrations.
The President’s opponents have already vowed to ‘bring out the baby blimp’ – an inflatable caricature depicting Trump as an infant – for the second time in a year. Mr Trump was promised the official trip by Mrs May after he was elected in 2016 but it was postponed amid protests in London against his policies.
Mr Bercow has also refused to attend the state banquet and is yet to invite Mr Trump to address MPs, which is traditional when a US President visits Britain.
Mr Bercow said in 2017 he was ‘strongly opposed’ to granting the President the honour of a speech because of his ban on migrants from certain Muslim countries.
A spokesman said: ‘Mr Speaker has been invited to the banquet, but he will not be attending.’
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable has also declined the invitation.
The Commons Speaker John Bercow has also been accused of disrespecting Her Majesty by refusing to go to the Buckingham Palace event this summer
US President Trump and Melania will enjoy inspecting the troops, lunching with the Queen and then eating off 4,000-piece dinner service at Buckingham Palace state banquet
Donald Trump can expect a military welcome, a lavish lunch with the Queen and a banquet at Buckingham Palace during his state visit in June.
Details of the ceremonial elements of the visit have yet to be announced by Buckingham Palace, but the visit is likely to follow the traditional format of an official open-air welcome featuring prestigious British regiments, lunch with the Queen and a state banquet.
When the couple arrive in London they will be met by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. This usually takes place on the Horse Guards Parade.
To mark the beginning of a state visit, gun salutes are fired from Green Park and the Tower of London.
Trump and his wife will be invited to inspect a Guard of Honour before heading back to the Palace as part of a carriage procession, escorted by a large number of soldiers from the Household Cavalry.
On the evening of June 3 the state banquet will take place at the Ballroom in Buckingham Palace.
Donald Trump and his wife Melania met the Queen at Windsor Castle last summer
The Buckingham Palace Ballroom is pictured with 171 guests invited to the last US state visit when Barack and Michelle Obama visited the Queen in May 2011
This is a formal occasion with 150 guests, invited on their cultural, diplomatic or economic link to the USA.
Preparations for this dinner can start up to a year in advance, but the bulk of the organising usually takes around five days.
Who has visited the UK on a state visit since 2013?
2017, July – King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, Spain
2015, October – President Xi Jinping and Madame Peny Liyuan, China
2015, March – President Enrique PEna Nieto and Senora Angelica Rivera de Pena, Mexico
2014, October – President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Mrs Tan Keng Yam, Singapore
2014, April – President Michael Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins, Ireland
2013, November – President Park Guen-hye, South Korea
2013, April to May – President Khalifa bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates
Before dinner is served the Queen will make a speech and propose a toast to Trump, who will then give his own speech in return.
The last US state visit in 2011 when Barack and Michelle Obama visited the Queen saw the palace invite 171 guests to the state banquet.
They included Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, Tim Burton, as well as then Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and the then Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
They dined on lamb, potatoes boulangere and vanilla chocolate.
Wines served included Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Fitzrovia Rosé 2004 and Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2004.
During his last visit to the UK Trump stayed at Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador.
The property occupies twelve and half acres on the north-west side of Regent’s Park and has the second largest private garden in central London, after Buckingham Palace.
He could be staying there again this year as the East Wing of Buckingham Palace is undergoing renovation work.
It has not yet been confirmed what Trump will be doing on June 4, but state visits include a meeting with the Prime Minister, Government ministers and the main political parties.
The Mall is pictured decorated with Union Jack and USA flags on the Obamas’ state visit in 2011
China’s President Xi Jingping is pictured getting out of his carriage as guards salute at Buckingham Palace during the last major state visit to the UK in October 2015
Her Majesty and US President Barack Obama chat together during a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011 in London
Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, Prince Charles, First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Philip during a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace for US President Barack Obama
President of China Xi Jinping and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on October 20, 2015 in London, during his state visit
It has not yet been confirmed if Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Vince Cable will be in attendance.
Trump could be invited to another luxurious dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation, where he would meet business leaders to discuss the economy and trade relations.
One June 5 Trump will attend events in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The gathering on Southsea Common will involve live performances, military displays and tributes to the Allied troops who fought in Normandy, including a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft and at least 11 Royal Navy vessels in the Solent.
Chinese and British flags fly on Pall Mall on November 7, 2005 in London, England as the Chinese President, Hu Jintao made a state 3 day visit to the UK
Chinese President Xi Jingping is pictured centre with The Queen right and the Duchess of Cambridge left at Buckingham Palace on China’s state visit to the UK in October 2015
After the state visit has ended he will travel with Theresa May to Normandy to attend a number of other commemorative events including the inauguration of the British Normandy memorial in Ver-Sur-Mer.
The last significant state visit made by a foreign leader was China in October 2015.
President Xi Jingping and his wife dined with the Queen and other estemed guests at Buckingham Palace and drank traditional English pints in a pub with then Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Mall was adorned with the red and gold of the Chinese flag, which will turn to the red white and blue of the US flag when Trump arrives in June.
The last US state visit to the UK was made by former president Barack Obama and his First Lady Michelle in 2011.