Donald Trump’s states visit to the UK should be delayed by up to three years so that controversy around his policies does not taint the Queen, the ex-head of the Foreign Office has said.
Lord Ricketts argued that involving the Queen with a world leader against whom there are on-going large scale protests, was “ill-judged” and that postponing the trip would allow the controversy to settle.
He also suggested the programme of the visit could be arranged to lessen negative impacts, with concerns about a clash between Prince Charles and the President over Mr Trump’s climate change denial.
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It follows a protest involving thousands of people against the President’s policies in Westminster and more than 1.6 million people signing a petition against the visit in a matter of days.
Lord Ricketts, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office between 2006 and 2010, said: “Once this invitation has been issued then of course there should be a state visit and I wouldn’t be against that at all.
“But I think if you did it two or three years into the Trump presidency, the controversial early policy announcements will have been out of the way, things will have settled down.
“Then hopefully we could receive the President in that warm and celebrating spirit that you want to do with a state visit.”
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Theresa May became the first foreign leader to visit Mr Trump in the White House last week, where the pair were pictured holding hands and she extended an invitation for the state visit far earlier than any other President has received one.
But hours later Mr Trump sparked controversy with his executive order to impose a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, with Ms May initially refusing to condemn the policy.
Lord Ricketts told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My concern is the Queen will have acted on the Government’s advice, as she always does.
“Clearly there is now a lot of controversy around that and if that continues then it seems to me that it does put the Queen in a difficult position.”
He went on: “It would have been possible I think to have invited the President, by the Prime Minister to come on an official visit to have political talks, to have whatever programme he wanted, go and have tea with the Queen, but without the full panoply, the full accolade of a state visit quite so quickly.”
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The peer explained that beyond the core elements of the state visit, such as a banquet with the Queen and staying at Buckingham Palace, the programme could be tailored as to whether it involved other royals such as Prince Charles.
During Ms May’s visit members of Mr Trump staff were reported to have warned that Prince Charles should not “lecture” the President on climate change during his visit in case the fiery politician “erupts” in return.
The petition against Mr Trump’s visit soared past 1.6 million signatures on Tuesday despite it having been open only for a matter of days.