UK prime minister Theresa May today formally rejected a petition opposing US president Donald Trump's impending UK State Visit.
The petition, 'Prevent Donald Trump from making State Visit to the United Kingdom' had attracted 1.8 million signatures, ensuring a debate in the parliament on the matter on 20 February. May said her government "does not support" the view.
Any petition crossing a million signatures has to be considered for a debate in the House of Commons, though the government had the right to take a stand on the issue in the lead up to that debate.
In its official response the government said, the government believed the US president should be extended the "full courtesy of a State Visit".
"We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised. [Her Majesty's] government recognises the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition, but does not support this petition," the response read.
"During her visit to the United States on 27 January 2017, the Prime Minister, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited President Trump for a State Visit to the UK later this year. The invitation was accepted. This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit."
The debate, which would not have any binding power over the government would not end in a vote, a government representative would, however, attend to hear lawmakers' arguments.
Trump's state visit had sparked controversy elsewhere in UK politics, and the speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said last week that he would be opposed to Trump addressing parliament.