Doncaster MP Ed Miliband calls for 'biggest protest this country's ever seen' against proposed Trump visit

Ed Miliband MP.
Ed Miliband MP.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband is calling for the 'biggest protest this country's ever seen' when Donald Trump makes a planned state visit to the UK this year.

The US President has been extended the honour of a full state visit after meeting Theresa May last year, which has prompted threats of mass protests and boycotts over Mr Trump’s controversial record.

More than 1.8 million people signed a petition against the plans and Commons Speaker John Bercow told MPs that Mr Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also opposed the visit.

Mr Miliband, former Labour leader, has now weighed in on the debate during his regular iTunes podcast Reasons to be Cheerful.

He said: "I’m not personally in favour of the state visit going ahead. I fear it will go ahead and we should have the biggest protest that the country’s ever seen to make clear what people think of him and what he stands for."

He also criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for "making a terrible mistake" by "cosying up to Trump" as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

Mr Miliband added: "I think that was the wrong strategy. If you think about Angela Merkel, she has been much more arm’s length (with Trump) from the start.

"She was like, ‘Okay, he’s won, but we’ve got our values and we’ve go to defend those values.’ She’s not falling over herself to welcome him to Berlin and all that.

"I mean, what are we going to get out of it? I don’t think we’re going to get anything out of it.

"On climate change, the Middle East, what he did in relation to Jerusalem – he’s out there on his own, on the fringes.”

He also spoke about being liberated from the shackles of leadership.

He said: "I’m the same person I was before. I’ve just got more opportunity to show it.

"The leadership is a highly responsible job where you have to weigh every word. Partly, if you’re the leader of the Labour Party, you’re operating in a political war zone.

"Now, I freely acknowledge that I probably felt too constrained by that."

Elsewhere, Mr Miliband praised Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

He said: "I don’t feel jealous of Corbyn’s success. If you’re thinking about what happened at the General Election 2017, one should feel that, actually, you tip your hat to Jeremy Corbyn for what he achieved and the way he inspired lots of young people to get engaged with politics."