49% of Britons believe Donald Trump state visit should go ahead, poll finds


Almost half of Britons believe Donald Trump's controversial state visit to the UK should go ahead, while just over a third think it should be cancelled, according to a poll.

More than 1.7 million people have signed a petition to Parliament calling for the visit to be scrapped, and large demonstrations have been held in London and other cities against the US president's travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim states.

But the YouGov poll found a clear majority in favour of the visit planned for later this year, during which Mr Trump would be the guest of the Queen.

Prime Minister Theresa May extended the offer during her trip to the White House last week, seven days after Mr Trump's inauguration.

Some 49% of those questioned in the survey for The Times said the trip should go ahead, against 36% who said it should be stopped.

Support for the visit came despite the fact that 50% believed the travel ban - which bars Syrian refugees from entering the US and puts a three-month block on any entrants from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya - was a bad idea, compared with 29% who said it was a good idea.

In a separate poll by the same company, 27% of Britons said they would be pleased or delighted if Mrs May imposed similar travel restrictions in the UK, while 49% said they would be disappointed or appalled.

As the row over the Trump visit raged in the UK, the president made one of the most important early decisions of his term in office, nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacant judge's seat on the US Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the Senate, the appointment of the 49-year-old - who took a doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford University in 2004 - would restore the court's conservative majority, lost with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, London mayor Sadiq Khan and Tory former cabinet minister Baroness Warsi are among senior politicians calling for the state visit not to happen while the travel ban is in place.

The YouGov poll found particular support for the visit among Ukip supporters (81%), Conservatives (76%), Leave voters (68%) and over-65s (58%), while demand for it to be cancelled was strongest among Labour supporters (62%), Liberal Democrats (58%), Remain voters (53%) and people aged 18-24 (53%).

Men were more likely to back the visit than women, by a margin of 60% to 39%.

:: YouGov surveyed 1,705 adults for The Times on January 30 and 31 about their views on Donald Trump's visit, and 6,926 adults on the same dates about a potential UK travel ban.