Theresa May does ‘not agree’ with US ban on refugees

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 29, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionTheresa May declined to condemn President Donald Trump’s ban during a press conference in Turkey

Prime Minister Theresa May does “not agree” with Donald Trump’s refugee ban and will appeal to the US if it affects British citizens, Downing Street says.

She had been criticised for refusing to condemn the move, instead saying it was up to the US to decide its own policy.

The order halts all refugee admissions and has temporarily barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Iraq-born Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who is affected by the ban, said it was cruel and he hoped it would be reversed.

The MP for Stratford-on-Avon, told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: : “I don’t think I have felt discriminated against, probably, since little school.”

He said the ban would stop him and his wife visiting their twin sons, who are at Princeton University in the US.

“I’m hoping he will reconsider this decision, I think it’s hugely discriminatory.”

He said the UK should not ” look the other way when President Trump makes a mistake” but added: “I’m reassured by Theresa May’s statement because she quite clearly says she disagrees with this.”

Is it worth the backlash for May?

By Susana Mendonca, BBC political correspondent

Before all the hand holding and pally smiles, Theresa May promised the world she would not be afraid to tell Donald Trump what she thought when she disagreed with him.

It didn’t take long for her to fall at the first hurdle.

The PM changed her tune hours later, but this tougher stance only came after wide condemnation of her failure to condemn Mr Trump in the first place.

Even her own MPs were angry. Iraqi born Nadhim Zahawi said he was also now banned from the US; another said she didn’t care how “special” the relationship was, some lines shouldn’t be crossed.

And that’s the trouble for Theresa May. Donald Trump is bound to cross yet more lines, and if she doesn’t criticise him she’ll look like the weak partner obeying the powerful one.

The real question for her will be whether keeping Donald Trump sweet in the interests of getting a good trade deal for Britain is worth the backlash she’ll get for not being candid enough when she and Britain disagrees with him.

But other Conservatives have been critical and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May showed “weak failure” in standing up for British values: “President Trump’s executive order against refugees and Muslims should shock and appal us all.”

And Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The PM should have said this the first time she was asked, not hours later and only under pressure.”

President Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, halted the entire US refugee programme and also instituted a 90-day travel ban for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

A US judge has issued a stay temporarily halting the deportation of visa holders or refugees “caught up” in the aftermath of the ban’s imposition.

There are also concerns that British athletes such as Sir Mo Farah, who lives in the US but was was born in Somalia, and former Team GB basketball player Luol Deng, who was born in Sudan and now plays with the Los Angeles Lakers, could be affected.


Number 10 said it was studying the executive order and would “make representations” to the US government if any UK nationals were affected.

Mrs May visited the US on Friday, followed by a trip to Turkey, and within hours of landing back in the UK, Downing Street released a statement clarifying her position.

“Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government,” said a spokesman.

“But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking.”

Holidaymaker in ‘crazy’ situation

Image copyright
Hamaseh Tayari

Image caption

Hamaseh Tayari could not journey home because her connecting flight went to New York

A post-graduate veterinary student from Glasgow says she is “upset” and “afraid” after being refused boarding for her flight home to Scotland.

Hamaseh Tayari, who holds an Iranian passport, was due to fly back from a holiday in Costa Rica to New York, and then from New York to Glasgow, but was stopped due to the ban.

The only alternative she and her boyfriend were able to find was a new flight from San Jose to Madrid and then on to London and finally Glasgow.

But that has cost them almost £2,600 which she described as “all our money for the next few months”.

Defending her, Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke told the BBC: “The prime minister is not a shoot-from-the-hip type of politician.

“She wants to see the evidence, she wants to understand precisely what the implications are, she had been in a series of very length meetings with President Erdogan and she is someone who wants to see the briefing and understand it and then will respond to that.

“There are times when there’s pressure to respond to a news cycle and so on, the important thing is we are saying we disagree with it and we do think it’s wrong.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38786576

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