Despite Trump backlash, May says ‘very happy’ to invite him

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

British Prime Minister Theresa May was “very happy” to invite U.S. President Donald Trump for a state visit to Britain, her Downing Street office said on Monday as May faced a popular backlash at home over the planned visit.

Numerous politicians, including some in her own party ranks, have said a full state visit involving lavish royal pageantry would be inappropriate following Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration restrictions, and a petition against the visit had gathered 1.3 million signatures by Monday lunchtime.

“To be clear, the Prime Minister extended an invitation on behalf of the Queen – and she was very happy to do so. The USA is one of this country’s closest allies, and we look forward to hosting the President later this year,” Downing Street said.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison)

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