Donald Trump conceded ground to opposition last night by exempting British dual citizens from his Executive Order, dubbed by many as a ‘Muslim ban’, which prohibits any entry to the United States from seven majority-muslim countries, namely, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.
After Theresa May instructed Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson to lobby their US counterparts, the policy seems to have relaxed marginally, as the Foreign Office confirmed that the ban will only apply to British dual citizens flying directly from the countries identified, meaning that dual citizens could fly from the UK or another, unaffected country. It will still, however, prevent millions of Muslims from the seven countries from travelling to the US at all.
Initially Theresa May refused to condemn Trump’s Executive Order, telling reporters at a press conference in Turkey on Saturday that, “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees. The United Kingdom is responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on refugees”. She later backtracked, when late on Sunday night her office issued a statement saying she “does not agree” with the policy.
Jeremy Corbyn appeared on Peston on Sunday to condemn the ban, and called for Donald Trump’s state visit in the summer to be cancelled unless he scraps it:
I’m not happy with him coming here until that ban is lifted, quite honestly. Look at what’s happening with those countries, how many is it going to be? And what’s going to be the long-term effect of this on the rest of the world?
I think we need to find out exactly what his intentions are in the long run and how much the US parliamentary system is actually going to protect fundamental rights and laws.
The immediate impact of the ban was felt across airports in the US on Friday night, as hundreds of people were detained on arrival at various airports such as John F. Kennedy International, in New York, denied access to legal counsel, and even questioned about their political views. Eventually, a federal judge issued a court order declaring that no person could be deported under the order.
The ban provoked huge opposition in the UK, with more than a million people signing a petition calling for the cancellation of Trump’s state visit, and celebrated public figures such as Sir Mo Farah, who is affected by the policy as he is Somali-born and lives in America, coming out to condemn the ban. It is thought that Nadhim Zahawi’s intervention on Sunday morning proved crucial in provoking a U-turn from Theresa May. Zahawi appeared on Marr, criticising the policy and making it clear how he would personally be affected. The Iraq-born Tory MP, who’s sons attend Princeton University in the US, retweeted a picture of Winston Churchill on Saturday night with the caption:
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
A demonstration against the Executive Order is to take place outside Downing Street tonight.