British Parliament members hold heated debate over Trump visit

A divided British Parliament on Monday took on whether the United Kingdom should move forward with an invitation for an official state visit by President Trump.

Some members of Parliament hurled insults at the U.S. president, and called for U.K. lawmakers to stand up against Trump, whom one Labour Party MP said acts like a “petulant child.”

“There are great dangers in tempting to give him the best accolade we can give anyone,” Flynn said. “It would be terribly wrong because it would appear that British Parliament, the British nation, the British sovereign is approving of the acts of Donald J. Trump.”

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But other MPs defended the invitation. Withdrawing it, they argued, would be detrimental to the close relationship between the U.K. and the U.S., as well as an insult to the American people.

"America is our greatest ally,” Conservative MP Simon Burns said. “It has been for a considerable amount of time. It has stood by us, shoulder to shoulder, in our hour of need, as we did in their hour of need, particularly during 9/11."

The debate was spurred by a petition urging the U.K. government to withdraw Trump’s invitation for a state visit that garnered 1.8 million signatures. But the country’ Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement last week that the visit would not be cancelled.

The lawmakers jointly debated a rival petition calling on the British government to stand by the invitation. That petition received 310,000 signatures.

As lawmakers debated the visit, thousands of protesters gathered in Parliament Square outside to oppose the president, focusing their ire on his Jan. 27 executive order barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

While it has become typical for presidents to be invited to the U.K. for a full state visit, Trump’s invitation came unusually quickly – within a week after he took office. By comparison, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback Overnight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes rule to kill Obama climate plan | Trump officials delayed releasing docs on Yellowstone superintendent's firing | Democrats probe oil companies' role in fuel rule rollback House Democrats investigate oil companies' involvement in fuel standards rollback MORE did not receive such an invitation until more than two years into their presidencies.

Nevertheless, a poll released last week showed that a majority of Brits – 53 percent – support the visit, while 42 percent do not.