Vince Cable declines invitation to State Banquet for Trump

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Vince Cable has today declined an invitation to a state banquet with Donald Trump.

In a letter to Palace staff organising the impending state visit in June, Mr Cable said:

I have taken the view that as a party leader I should not support state visits where the government of the day has issued invitations inappropriately.

I did not accept an invitation to attend a State Banquet with the King of Saudi Arabia for that reason. I hope and trust Her Majesty The Queen will understand that I decline this invitation out of no disrespect to her. I am of course hugely honoured to have been invited.

Following his letter Vince Cable commented:

The Conservative Government has prevailed on the Palace to host President Trump, and they are dutifully doing so. But we should not be beguiled by pomp and circumstance into hobnobbing with a man who is on record as a misogynist and a racist.

If we need to do business with the United States on an intergovernmental basis, we can do that without rolling out the red carpet in this way.

The fact this state visit is occurring at all is a shameful stain on the Government, who doubtless see it as a distraction from the mess they are making of running the country.

* News Meerkat - keeping a look-out for Liberal Democrat news. Meerkat photo by Paul Walter

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  • John Marriott 25th Apr '19 - 1:10pm


  • Susanna Chenery 25th Apr '19 - 1:25pm

    Well done Vince I totally agree with you

  • Barry Lofty 25th Apr '19 - 2:25pm

    Well said Sir Vince, you speak for many of us.

  • Sue Sutherland 25th Apr '19 - 3:52pm

    Thank you Vince.

  • Mick Taylor 25th Apr '19 - 4:05pm

    Watch Corbyn accept….

  • More of this please – from Vince and also from his successor.
    The LibDem internal disease is excessive politeness. We tend to be nice, well brought-up people, very reluctant to risk offending anyone, and we too often allow that to dominate our response to things – especially in Westminster. The reaction already in this thread shows that Vince has got it spot-on here.

  • David Becket 25th Apr '19 - 5:59pm

    Well done Vince

  • On the subject of the Cable guy, it’s worth having a look at Vince’s twitter feed at the moment. it’s a good way of seeing where he is campaigning for the local elections. e.g. 15/4 – Chelmsford and Colchester; 16/4 – St Albans; 17/4 Richmond; Then a bit of a break (?); Then today – Cheadle and Leeds. Good pics of all these visits too, and interesting local events clearly organised to highlight local policy priorities.

  • So Vince refuses to attend a dinner for the elected leader of the USA, possibly the UK’s greatest friend. I’m just wondering which of the worlds leaders (outside the EU countries) he would have dinner with. Outside the EU the worlds great military powers are China, Russia, India, Turkey, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Egypt, Iran, Brazil etc. Is it LibDem policy to offend and avoid the leaders of anyone who they consider “misogynist and a racist” or dislike for other reasons?

  • David Evershed 25th Apr '19 - 11:16pm

    So the Lib Dem leader is joining the Labour leader by insulting the US electorate.

  • @David Evershed

    Well remember that more of the US electorate voted against Trump than for him! As others say absolutely the right thing to do by Vince – we need to be bold and a little marmite and boycotting a banquet is not impoliteness. I hope that on the day he will highlight all those in the US and America that are suffering from poverty and not tucking into a banquet.

  • That should read “in the UK and America…”

  • David Evershed 26th Apr '19 - 1:33am

    It seems the Lib Dems are anti democracy in both the UK (over the EU referendum result) and in the USA (over the Presidential result).

    We should return to calling ourselves The Liberal Party.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Apr '19 - 8:09am

    @David Evershed
    “It seems the Lib Dems are anti democracy in both the UK (over the EU referendum result) and in the USA (over the Presidential result).”

    If elections and referenda are being won without all the partiicpants abiding by the rules, when the electorate is presented with misinformation and downlright lies, when some organisations have access to vast sums of money from dodgy sources – democracy is very nearly dead.

  • Robert (Somerset) 26th Apr '19 - 8:56am

    Well done Vince! Accept we have to do business with Trump but rolling out the red carpet and compromising the Queen is a choice. Yes, it is fair to say in terms of people, Trump got three million less votes than Hillary Clinton.

  • David Evans 26th Apr '19 - 9:23am

    David (Evershed) – Yes there are people who will try to portray what Vince has done as insulting the US electorate, but they are people with an agenda to promote grievance and division. We should not sink to that level by repeating such rubbish.

  • David Evans – Surely the ones who promote “grievance and division” are those who wish to offend the leader of the free world and the UK’s good friend.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Apr '19 - 10:54am

    the UK’s good friend? Oh please!!!!!!!

    Putting it round the other way – the UK is only the US’s good friend when the UK is doing exactly what the US wants – irrespective of the damage that might do to the UK, to other countries’ citizens or to the planet.

    And I wouldn’t have trusted Barak Obama to agree a US-UK trade deal which treated the UK fairly, never mind Donald Trump doing so!.

  • Nonconformistradical – when we had a problem with Russia over the chemical attacks it was America who stood shoulder to shoulder with the UK. At the UN, the American representative let it be known (in a warning to Russia) that the UK was their closest friend. In other words “if you mess with them you mess with us”. For that kind of friend I’m more than happy to eat American chicken and tolerate their slightly odd choice of president.

  • Andrew Noblet 26th Apr '19 - 12:07pm

    Well done Vince! I hope others will follow.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Apr '19 - 1:16pm

    What you say doesn’t undermine my point. If it happened to be in the US interest to support the UK over the chemical attacks then that is what they will do.

    If it isn’t in their – or their current pesident’s – interest they won’t.

    Example – the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal – despite the opposition of the other signatories.

  • David Becket 26th Apr '19 - 2:10pm

    @ malc

    “A slightly odd choice of president” Do me a favour.
    An egoistical, lier, climate change denier, insulting, trouble maker, misogynist, racist. who has time to stick his nose into things that do not concern him, and which he knows nothing about. If the so called leader of the free world has time to tell the French how to put out fires then he is more than odd. He should not have been offered a state visit in the first place.

  • Yeovil Yokel 26th Apr '19 - 2:48pm

    malc – “leader of the free world”? – I thought that was Angela Merkel.

    I applaud Vince’s principled stance, although he will be missing an opportunity to give Trump a much-needed tutorial on business ethics.

  • David Becket – Alright you don’t like Donald Trump, most liberals don’t. However, a lot of Americans do and he stands a good chance of being re-elected. America is a great country and we have to trust the peoples judgement. If the Lib Dems refuse to attend a dinner because a person doesn’t meet their standards, they may as well throw away their posh clothes. There are many, many non-liberal heads of state out there – far more than there are liberal ones. Do you only talk to like minded people and avoid the rest of the world? Would Vince refuse to attend a dinner with Farage or Ree-Mogg, perhaps Corbyn and MacDonald? Except for the obvious mass murders and torturers (who hopefully wouldn’t be invited to a state dinner) Vince should bite his tongue and enjoy the occasion.

  • Yeovil Yokel

    “malc – “leader of the free world”? – I thought that was Angela Merkel”

    She’s been a top notch leader for Germany, but Germany is a pygmy both militarily and economically compared to the USA.

  • Peter Martin 26th Apr '19 - 3:47pm


    Germany is a pygmy both militarily and economically compared to the USA.

    I’m not sure that the use of the term ‘pygmy’ in this context is acceptable these days!

    True, Germany has a lower GDP and a smaller population than the USA. But, economically, Germany calls the shots in the EU. Adding in the GDP of the rest of EU means they shouldn’t be dismissed quite so casually.

  • David Evershed 26th Apr '19 - 4:09pm

    Peter Martin

    I am not sure that the phrase “Germany calls the shots in the EU” is acceptable these days.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Apr '19 - 4:38pm

    David Evershed: Yet another person who misunderstands democracy. I wasn’t expecting it to be someone from our party. I echo David Lammy: I don’t care how elected Trump is. Being democratically elected does not bestow immunity from criticism, and it does not mean we all have to kowtow to him. By that definition of democracy, we, as the Liberal Democrats, are being anti-democratic just by voicing opposition to the democratically elected Tory-DUP government.

  • David Becket 26th Apr '19 - 4:44pm

    @ malc
    Lets get facts right, a minority of Americans like Trump, fewer than those who liked Clinton.

  • Yeovil Yokel 26th Apr '19 - 4:58pm

    malc – You’re missing the point: morally, Trump is the ‘pygmy’, Merkel is a giant by comparison. If you were forced to choose between them, which would you have as your ‘leader of the free world’ (you’re allowed one guess)?

    “Do you only talk to like-minded people….?” We’re talking about a state banquet here, not a conference or inter-governmental meeting. Vince said on Twitter & QT that Trump can come to the UK to talk business, etc, but shouldn’t be indulged with the status of a state visit which has been accorded to few of his predecessors. This invitation reeks of Tory toadyism.

    David Becket – come on man, let’s not hear any of this anodyne wishy-washy liberal nonsense, don’t hold back, call a spade a spade, say what you really think.

  • nvelope2003 26th Apr '19 - 5:07pm

    Corbyn and others have also declined to attend the banquet for Donald Trump.

  • Paul Walter

    “I have heard it said by Americans that Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful person in the USA”

    I’m sure Nancy Pelosi agrees with them and I guess Mitch McConnell thinks he holds the power. That said, we all know that the President is the main player.

  • Paul Walter

    Yes, so much the “main player” that he closed down the government to get money for his wall but was humiliated and forced into surrender”

    That’s true, but Trump did have the power to closed down the government in the first place. He also appoints Justices of the Supreme Court and other Federal Judges, which as you know is a big deal in America. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he has the power to Veto Bills and grant pardons and many other powers. I’m not belittling Pelosi, now the Democrats hold the House she’s a powerful lady, but she doesn’t have the same power as the President. Although I will agree she can make life difficult for him.

  • Innocent Bystander 27th Apr '19 - 9:49am

    I suspect Trump’s own response would be –
    “Vince who?”

  • Richard Underhill 27th Apr '19 - 2:25pm

    Vince Cable has behaved with dignity and good manners.
    A previous US President, Ronald Reagan, was clear that what he wanted was to be on live television at a banquet with the Queen. This was unprecedented, but was arranged.
    This was at a time when the Argentine junta had invaded the Falkland Islands, having noted that the Thatcher government had withdrawn naval protection, one ship.
    Against the advice of her defence minister Mrs. T. launched a fleet, without air cover.
    US policy under Reagan was to try to be friends with both countries.
    At the banquet the Queen spoke first. She had a son, Andrew, making a career as an officer in the Royal Navy who was deployed to the South Atlantic into combat.
    The USA had much bigger military forces than the UK. Political pressure from the Pentagon might have compelled the Argentinian Junta to withdraw, but it did not happen. New Zealand lent the UK a warship. Why ONE warship? The NZ PM said it was all they could manage. The UK deployed it in the Caribbean replacing an RN warship.
    At the lunch the Queen made her views plain. The PM was facing the cameras. Her face went into her soup bowl, which did not yet contain any soup. Ronald Reagan kept a well trained straight face.
    The US defence secretary was later awarded a medal. He said it was unconstitutional in the US to accept a medal from a foreign government, but he did.

  • nvelope2003 27th Apr '19 - 2:27pm

    Sir Vince is expected to retire soon unlike the others not attending. I guess his non attendance will go down well with the party but possibly not with the country if they have noticed. He might have been able to change Trump’s mind on something as he is very convincing.

  • nvelope2003 27th Apr '19 - 5:38pm

    Paul Walter: How do you know ? Stranger things have happened. King Charles II appointed a clergyman to be a bishop after he had openly criticised his immoral way of life and banned his mistress from his home. The thing about Trump is the way he surprises his critics and supporters. That is what journalists hate.

  • “choice of wine”? I thought Trump doesn’t drink alcohol.

  • Mick Taylor 28th Apr '19 - 7:10pm

    @David Raw. I’m happy to be proved wrong on this one. I really thought Mr Corbyn would attend so as not to upset Mrs Windsor.
    By the way, I’m not even a regular commentator, so hardly a sage. Anyway, I’m probably a lot younger than you are.

  • Mick Taylor 28th Apr ’19 – 7:10pm………. I really thought Mr Corbyn would attend so as not to upset Mrs Windsor…..

    Corbyn would prefer to make Mrs. Windsor, and her offspring, redundant (one of his better ideas IMO); so I hardly think he cares..

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Apr '19 - 3:12am

    Like Sir Vince, and most of our party in my view from experience and speculation,unlike one or two here , I am a great supporter of our Constitutional Monarch/y.

    Our present leader was excellent on question time and on this, clearly a statement , honoured and glad to be invited, but also he showed this with reference to aspects few do.

    It is rare to invite a US President for a State rather than political or private visit.

    Most such State visits are to countries we are making a state-ment to or seeking one from, of friendship that needs that, needs to be developed.

    Yes this is in history only an accident and , similarly, inconsistent.

    Many of the State visits are by kings and dictators for this reason.

    Sir Vince said the approach is not good as it places the monarch in a difficult situation.

    Only knowing this we could oppose this visit.

    Add that it is from a much loved monarch to a president so disliked by many here, certainly one with very little he has about him of the status needed, nor, as with Bush jnr, a need to show loyal regard after the joint and abysmal venture in Iraq, nor the endorsement of the first BAME / African American President, this invite to Trump as such an event, is awful.

    He may yet be found to be a crook and is controversial.

    He has not earned other than tea and no sympathy.

  • Given that the list of those declining seems to be getting longer by the day – I believe the SNP have also declined – can I suggest Her Majesty and Trump have a McDonalds together in front of Fox News and the cost gets donated to food banks?!

  • David Evershed 30th Apr '19 - 2:16am

    Rumour has it that Trump has arranged a dinner with Johnson and Farage during his visit.

    Memo to Vince – Get book from library by Dale Carnegie called “How to win friends and influence people”.

  • Alex Macfie 30th Apr '19 - 5:06am

    “Rumour has it that Trump has arranged a dinner with Johnson and Farage during his visit.” You can judge people by the company they keep.

  • David Evershed 1st May '19 - 10:36am

    Alex Macfie

    So your proposal to influence the views of the President of the USA is to avoid his company.

    Good luck with that.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd May '19 - 3:58pm

    Suppose the Donald comes to the UK, would it be possible to take his mobile ‘phone off him, so as to discourage him from tweeting while in UK jurisdiction.
    OR would it be possible to accommodate him in a building which is shielded, or otherwise secure? Windsor castle perhaps, although, so far, he is on his third wife, or maybe the Tower of London?

  • Richard Underhill 4th May '19 - 9:07am

    Vince Cable will be on BBC1 Breakfast programme at 09.10 today 4/5/2019.

  • Richard Underhill 4th May '19 - 9:17am

    “The Coalition was successful compared with the chaos we have now”.
    “Every vote is a vote to stop Brexit”.
    “If this parliament runs its full term to 2022 I will have moved on, if there is a motion of no confidence the government could fall and I would be leading the Liberal Democrats in a general election”

  • Richard Underhill 19th Aug '19 - 9:20pm

    Donald Trump has confirmed that he wants to buy Greenland.
    In his view he may be trying to make comparisons with some of the great US Presidents. He was much too young to be involved with the Louisiana Purchase (and he would, of course, be against helping Napoleon Bonaparte finance the suppression of a slave rebellion in the Caribbean).
    There was also the purchase of Alaska from Tsarist Russia. It was only later that oil was found.
    ‘The art of the deal’ was ghost-written. Donald Trump, naturally modest, may need to make it real. There would be natural synergy in merging Alaska with Canada.
    Denmark does not want to sell. Greenland is not keen. It has had a NATO base in the north since the Cold War.
    Suddenly Donald Trump understands Climate Change.

  • richard underhill 21st Aug '19 - 10:03am

    19th Aug ’19 – 9:20pm Although invited by the Danish monarchy Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark.
    Danish PM Mette Fredirksen described Trump’s suggestion as “absurd”.

  • Richard Underhill 21st Aug '19 - 8:53pm

    21st Aug ’19 – 10:03am Donald Trump dislikes the word “absurd”, which is not normal diplomatic language. Plain speaking from the Danish PM.
    “Beyond 100 Days” on BBC TV NEWS showed us a short clip of Trump’s news conference.
    He said that he is “The Chosen One”.
    This is not a joke, it really did look like him.
    So what will the satirists do now? Stand for election?

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