The British government defied protests outside parliament and dissent from lawmakers and defended its decision to offer U.S. President Donald Trump a lavish state visit and an audience with the queen this year.
The visit has spurred 1.8 million people in Britain to sign a petition saying he should not be given a state visit because it could embarrass Queen Elizabeth.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government wants to reaffirm the “special relationship” with the United States and secure a trade deal as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
“In the light of America’s absolutely pivotal role we believe it entirely right that we should use all the tools at our disposal to build common ground with President Trump,” junior foreign minister Alan Duncan told parliament.
Since taking office in January, Trump has sparked global protests over plans to ban migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, and from women activists who call him misogynistic.
Trump says his immigration orders are aimed at protecting the United States and that his opponents have misrepresented his intentions.
Prime Minister May has said she will not consider cancelling the visit. Managing the backlash adds to her diplomatic “to-do” list as she sets about reuniting a country divided over Brexit and negotiating a divorce with European trading partners.