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British opposition leader to boycott Trump dinner

Friday, April 26, 2019

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain's main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday declined an invitation to a banquet with Donald Trump when the US president visits in June, accusing him of using "racist and misogynist rhetoric".

Prime Minister "Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit," Corbyn, a veteran left-winger and pacifist, said in a statement.

Trump "rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric," Corbyn said, although he added that he would welcome a meeting with Trump during the June 3-5 visit.

Corbyn said it was "disappointing that the prime minister has again opted to kowtow to this US administration".

House of Commons speaker John Bercow, who has ruled out allowing Trump to address parliament, and Vince Cable, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, have already declined the invitation to the dinner.

State dinners for visiting heads of state are usually held at Buckingham Palace and are lavish affairs.

May invited Trump for a state visit when she visited him in January 2017 — just days after he took office.

The invitation proved controversial and an online petition to cancel it reached 1.9 million signatures.

The president, a strong supporter of Brexit, travelled to Britain last year but only on a working visit without the pomp and ceremony associated with state visits.

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