South Asian Insider
Donald Trump will make three-day UK state visit in June and take part in D-Day 75th anniversary
(Insider Bureau)- British taxpayers are facing an £18million bill to host Donald Trump when the U.S. President makes a state visit in June. The Government was accused of 'wasting taxpayers' money' on the 'pomp and ceremony' of an official trip after Trump and his wife Melania accepted the Queen's invitation. His working visit last year attracted huge protests in London and additional policing costs ran into the millions. The President's opponents have already vowed to 'bring out the baby blimp' - an inflatable caricature depicting Trump as an infant - for a second time this year. Trump will be in Britain from June 3 to June 5 on his first state visit to the UK, which will see him take part in D-Day commemorations. Trump was promised the official trip by Theresa May after he was elected in 2016 but it was postponed amid protests against his policies in London. He will hold a bilateral meeting with Mrs May during the trip and attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. However he will not get a carriage ride down The Mall because of security fears. Trump's two predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, also met the Queen on state visits during their terms in the Oval Office. Visiting heads of state are sometimes given the honour of addressing Parliament, but Speaker John Bercow today would not confirm if this would take place. The House of Lords speaker, Lord Fowler, Lord Speaker, said: 'No request to use Westminster Hall has so far been received. If a request is made then this would need to be considered by both the Speaker of the Commons and myself. 'We would need to discuss the request. Clearly there is a strong case for a speech by the President particularly on such an important anniversary.' The state visit is understood to be taking place at Buckingham Palace, where a state banquet will be held for Mr Trump. But the president is not expected to stay at the palace because of renovations being undertaken in the East Wing of the Queen's London residence. Details of the ceremonial elements of the visit have yet to be announced by Buckingham Palace, but the visit is likely to follow the traditional format of an official open-air welcome featuring prestigious British regiments and lunch with the Queen. It is not known which royals will be attending the events during the state visit. Prince Harry's wife Meghan - a vocal opponent of Trump in the past - will be on maternity leave when he is in the UK, so is unlikely to be in attendance. Mrs May said today: 'The UK and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests. 'We do more together than any two nations in the world and we are both safer and more prosperous because of our cooperation. 'The State Visit is an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead.' A White House spokesman said of the visit: 'This state visit will reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. 'In addition to meeting the Queen, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May. 'While in the United Kingdom, the President and First Lady will attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, at one of the primary embarkation sites for the Allied operation that led to the liberation of Europe during World War II.' Trump will attend a commemorative gathering on Southsea Common in Portsmouth to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings. It will involve live performances, military displays and tributes to the Allied troops who fought in Normandy, including a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft and at least 11 Royal Navy vessels in the Solent. Portsmouth City Council's leader has slammed the plans and claims the president's presence will 'distract from the veterans'. Liberal Democrat Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'I am disappointed because it will change the nature of the event a great deal, for us the centre of the events was meant to be the veterans. With Donald Trump coming I think the chances are that it will move from being around commemoration and instead it will be a day of controversy.' He added: 'If he hasn't learnt the lessons of World War Two then why he is he coming here?' After the state visit has ended on June 6, Trump and his wife will join the Prime Minister in Normandy to attend a number of other commemorative events including the inauguration of the British Normandy memorial in Ver-Sur-Mer. Mrs May said of the event: 'I am proud that the UK will host representatives and veterans from Allied nations to pay tribute to that sacrifice and recognise the extraordinary co-operation that made the Normandy landings possible.' Other countries invited to send representatives to the Portsmouth event include Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Trump and the First Lady visited the UK in July 2018, but only for a two-day working visit, and he was not officially invited by the Queen. The announcement sparked calls for renewed demonstrations today after thousands of people took to the streets last year when he arrived in Britain.
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