Thursday, 26 January 2017

Theresa May Urged To Tackle President Trump On Torture Issues

Theresa May

Theresa May has been urged to reject Donald Trump's comments about torture when she becomes the first world leader to meet the US president.

The PM will hold talks in the White House on Friday with Mr Trump, who has said he believes the banned technique of waterboarding works.

First she travels to Philadelphia to address Republican leaders at an event attended by the US president.

No 10 said the PM had been unequivocal about the UK's opposition to torture.

A Downing Street spokesman added that the two countries had a "strong and close" relationship that allows "frank exchanges".

The issue of torture rose up the agenda after the president's comments to ABC News on Wednesday.

He said: "When they're shooting, when they're chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they're chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when Isis (IS) is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?

"I have spoken with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question 'Does it work? Does torture work?' and the answer was 'Yes, absolutely'."

Mrs May said at Prime Minister's Questions this week that the government's opposition to torture remained unchanged, a message repeated by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis on Thursday when asked about by MPs about Mr Trump's comments.

And a No 10 spokesman said: "We have been clear in the areas we are likely to cover, the point is we have a strong relationship with America, a close relationship with America and that allows us to have frank exchanges and where we disagree we will make it clear."

Opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said: "Theresa May must stand up for our country's values when she meets Donald Trump and oppose his support for torture, which is inhumane, illegal and delivers false intelligence."

During her Mrs May will vow to renew the UK's special relationship with the US "for this new age", telling Republicans that after Brexit, a "sovereign, global" Britain wants to enhance ties with its "old friends".

Post-Brexit trade opportunities, security and intelligence co-operation and the future of Nato are likely to feature significantly in her talks with Mr Trump.

Mrs May has said her goal is to build on the historic relationship between the two nations, underpinned by their shared values and common interests.

But she has said she "won't be afraid" to speak candidly to Mr Trump on matters where they disagree, having criticised remarks the businessman has made in the past about women and Muslims.



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