Conservative politicians have said Donald Trump should visit the UK despite protests in order to "cement and improve" the relationship between Britain and the U.S.
Said Conservative MP John Baron, "As the elected leader of one of our closest allies, the President's visit to the UK should proceed, in recognition of our two countries' uniquely close ties, shared language and history."
In turn, Jacob Rees-Mogg pointed to the hypocrisy of the Labor Party, which has in the past welcomed a string of dictators with open arms, and said the UK must continue to maintain a steady relationship with the US: "Labor have been quite happy to welcome all sorts of dictators," he said. "But they don't like Republican leaders. The relationship between Britain and the US is our most important one of all. The point of a state visit would be to cement and improve that relationship."
Over the weekend, reports emerged that Trump told British MP Theresa May in a phone call he "does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming." Over the past months, left-wingers have staged protests in Westminster urging the government to scrap the state visit because they do not agree with Trump's election and his policies regarding immigration, among other issues, according to the Sun.
However, on Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters: "Her Majesty extended an invitation to the president. He's accepted that invitation and we look forward to scheduling that trip."
"There is nothing that was scheduled and we look forward to working out a mutually acceptable date with the United Kingdom," Spicer said, adding that no date had yet been set.
Spicer also said the president is not "at all" concerned by his alleged unpopularity in the country stemming from his criticism of Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, for his response to the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks.
According to The Guardian, British Prime Minister Theresa May had invited Trump to Britain in January when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. At the time, she told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was "delighted that the president has accepted that invitation". The original trip was reportedly planned for October.
Reports the trip was cancelled were never confirmed: "We aren't going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations," said a Downing Street spokeswoman. "The Queen extended an invitation to President Trump to visit the UK and there is no change to those plans."
The White House said in statement: "The President has tremendous respect for Prime Minister May. That subject never came up on the call."
The latest YouGov data shows that just under half (49 per cent) of Britons believe Donald Trump's proposed state visit later this year should go ahead, and just over a third (36 per cent) want it cancelled. A petition calling for Trump's visit to be downgraded has been signed by nearly two million people, while a counter petition has garnered just over 300,000 signatures.