Prime Minister condemns ‘disgraceful scenes’ as protesters storm US Capitol


The Prime Minister has condemned "disgraceful scenes" in the United States as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington DC.

Amid violent clashes with police, protesters breached barricades and were able to enter the building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, disrupting politicians' formal approval of Joe Biden's election win.

Boris Johnson tweeted: "Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."

His comments came after British politicians from all parties described the scenes in Washington as "profoundly shocking" and "utterly horrifying".

Mr Trump had previously urged his supporters to travel to Washington to protest against Congress' approval of Mr Biden's victory in the November presidential election.

Both chambers of Congress were forced into an abrupt recess by the protest as they were debating the Electoral College vote that gave Mr Biden the presidency.

Police told politicians to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes.

Reacting on Twitter, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote: "Horrendous scenes from the US.

"These are not 'protesters' – this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people."

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also condemned the situation in Washington, tweeting: "Terrible scenes at the US Congress today.

"To our great friends in the US, we have always admired your peaceful transfers of power and the graceful acceptance by candidates of both electoral victory and defeat. Those who seek to undermine this must never prevail."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the scenes from the Capitol were "utterly horrifying".

She added: "Solidarity with those in (the United States) on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy."

Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Emily Thornberry described the scenes from Washington as "profoundly shocking".

She tweeted: "Profoundly shocking scenes in the Capitol tonight.

"Listening to Republican Congressman Kinzinger saying 'if this was Belarus we'd be calling it a coup attempt'. 'The guard rails will hold'. 'The President is guilty of cowardice – he should accept that he's lost'."

Former Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt said Mr Trump "shames American democracy tonight".

He tweeted: "America is the world's biggest, most important democracy, a shining light on the hill for freedom.

"Pres Trump told a crowd to march on Capitol Hill & turned on his VP for upholding the law. He shames American democracy tonight & causes its friends anguish but he is not America".

President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to ask his supporters to "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!".

He later tweeted: "I am asking for everyone at the US Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!

"Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!".

Lisa Nandy, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, said: "Terrible scenes from the USA.

"This is the legacy of a politics of hate that pits people against each other and threatens the foundations of democracy.

"We must stand firm with legislators under attack and the American people who have the right to choose their own destiny."

Layla Moran, foreign affairs spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, added: "The scenes coming out of Washington tonight are an attack on democracy.... An attack on democracy anywhere is an attack on democracy everywhere."

Labour MP David Lammy described Mr Trump as "an enemy of democracy".

He tweeted: "Donald Trump is an enemy of democracy. Every British politician who failed to condemn his actions after the presidential election should issue an apology tonight."

Meanwhile, the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham tweeted: "Any UK politician who gave Trump the time of day should be ashamed right now."