Donald Trump’s state visit should go ahead as planned because there is no advantage in “making it a bigger embarrassment for this country”, former Labour MP Glenda Jackson has said.
Downing Street has rejected claims that the Queen has been put in a difficult position because of the invitation.
Oscar-winning actress Jackson, who retired as a Labour MP in 2015 after 23 years in Parliament, said whether Trump is received at Buckingham Palace should not be the issue up for debate.
She told the Press Association: “People already know I’m a Republican. I think the Queen is a very nice woman and has done a marvellous job and I understand the tourist attraction of our Royal Family is very important to the economy, but I really don’t think that equates with what the real argument is about.
“We in this country do not believe you can condemn country after country based, presumably, on its national religion and say all of these people are evil and bad and terrorists.”
She added: “It (the invitation) is out there now. What is the advantage of making it a bigger embarrassment for this country?
“Let him come and let everybody get on the streets, wave the flags.
“Or it will probably be like it was when (George) Bush came, when there wasn’t a single person living in London apparently when the president of the United States came to stay. I can see that happening again.”
Theresa May’s spokeswoman has said she does not “accept” the view of the former head of the Foreign Office, Lord Ricketts, that things would now be awkward for the monarch due to the controversy which has engulfed the planned visit.
Speaking before she was honoured at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards for her first stage role in 25 years, Jackson said she found the travel ban “deeply depressing” and added: “The only thing one can take out of what’s been happening over the past couple of days is the true special relationship is between the British people and the American people, who are saying in no uncertain terms to their respective governments ‘These aren’t our values, this is not what we believe in, think again’.
“Let’s hope they will.
“They are not showing any signs of it at the moment but I’m extremely proud of what we have been doing in this country and for American citizens, a country that has always treated me with enormous generosity and kindness and welcoming, to see them turning out on the streets, there is the special relationship, those are the values that matter.”
She added: “I would argue that one of things that is really depressing is that at a time of huge fundamental, almost tectonic shifts in how electorates are responding to their political structures, is we seem to have lost the capacity to simply debate with people whose opinions we don’t share and who don’t share our opinions and the ease with which people opt for being abusive or dismissive is not the way forward.”