Thornberry brands Trump a ‘threat to world order’ over arms treaty exit
Donald Trump is a “threat to our world order” and does not deserve a state visit, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has said after the president moved to pull the US out of the international Arms Trade Treaty.
Branding him “nothing but a disgrace to his office”, Ms Thornberry tore into Mr Trump over his announcement that the US would be withdrawing its support for the accord regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade.
In striking comments for a politician who could go on to play a leading role in British relations with Mr Trump’s administration if he is re-elected, the senior Labour figure said the move “is the final confirmation that he is not the Leader of the Free World”.
Ms Thornberry’s intervention comes after Jeremy Corbyn said he will not attend a state banquet held for the US president when he visits in June.
The Labour leader said Theresa May was wrong to “kowtow” to a president who “rips up vital international treaties”.
Within hours, Mr Trump said the US would be rejecting the Arms Trade Treaty and “taking our signature back”.
In theatrical scenes, the president signed a document asking the Senate to halt the ratification process while part-way through a speech to the National Rifle Association, the pro-gun lobby group viewed as important to his re-election hopes.
“Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” Mr Trump said.
More than 100 countries, including Britain, have signed up to the treaty that regulates international trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
Former president Barack Obama signed the accord, arranged under the auspices of the United Nations, in 2013, although it has not been ratified by US legislators.
Mr Trump’s decision to halt ratification follows similar withdrawals from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia and the Iran nuclear deal.
Ms Thornberry denounced the president’s latest move, tweeting: “Donald Trump’s statement on the Arms Trade Treaty is the final confirmation that he is not the Leader of the Free World, he never has been, and he does not deserve the honour of a State Visit to Britain.
“He is nothing but a disgrace to his office and a threat to our world order.”
Mr Trump’s visit from June 3-5 is highly controversial and is expected to attract mass demonstrations.
He will hold bilateral talks with Mrs May at Downing Street, while there is expected to be the pomp and ceremony of state honours elsewhere.
A white-tie dinner banquet at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen, is always one of the key events of any state visit.
Mr Corbyn said he would not be attending the dinner, however he would be prepared to meet Mr Trump during his stay to discuss “all matters of interest”.
“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,” Mr Corbyn said.
“Maintaining an important relationship with the United States 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.”
The Prime Minister was widely criticised for inviting the US leader to make a state visit just days into his presidency in 2017.
His upcoming visit is expected to attract mass demonstrations.