UK Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to condemn new US President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees entering the USA.
Mrs May, who is currently visiting Turkey, was attending a press conference with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when she was asked if she would condemn the ban.
The UK Prime Minister at first tried to avoid answering before stating the matter was for the USA.
She said: “Well the United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees.
“The United Kingdom is responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on refugees and our policy on refugees is to have a number of voluntary schemes to bring Syrian refugees into the country, particularly those who are most vulnerable, but also to provide significant financial contributions to support refugees in countries surrounding Syria.”
The refusal to condemn the ban follows a trip to the US by the UK Prime Minister that witnessed both Mrs May and Mr Trump speak of a close personal relationship. The PM is keen to cultivate a relationship with the USA’s controversial leader as she attempts to negotiate a trade deal with the Western powerhouse in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
However there are signs of a split within the Conservative party north and south of the border after Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson called Mr Trump’s refugee ban wrong. In a message posted on Twitter, Ms Davidson said: “Back from Copeland to read the news of the US ban on migrants from Muslim countries. Both wrong in itself and very worrying for the future.”
The message from Ms Davidson prompted calls for her to “Do the right thing” and speak to her party leader. In another tweet, SNP MSP Gillian Martin responded to Ms Davidson’s message, saying : “Do the right thing and suggest that your boss comes out and clearly condemns this. Stop the hand holding and enabling.”
Conservative peer Baroness Warsi wrote on Twitter: “The moment we once again lost a little more moral authority. The hypocrisy of the debate on #Britishvalues becomes more stark by the day.”
The ban has witnessed people being held at US airports and quizzed on their background including their views on the US President. Others, some with US Green Cards, have been refused access to flights to and from the USA.
It has also emerged that the refugee ban has prevented a University of Glasgow vet from coming back to Scotland, according to the Herald newspaper.
The newspaper reports the following:
It is understood Hamaseh Tayari, who majors in veterinary anaesthesia the university, was due to fly back to Glasgow on Saturday but was denied entry onto a flight because it went via New York and she would need a transit visa, which was revoked.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland & US have deep friendship built on values. We must all speak up for those values – tolerance, equality & refuge for those in need.”
The First Minister also endorsed a message posted by Canadian Prime Minister who said: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”
Nicola Sturgeon replied “#WelcometoScotland too.”