President Trump's Visit

MQT on 2018-05-17
Session date: 
May 17, 2018
Question By: 
David Kurten
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


In the light of your comments about protests against President Trump when he visits London, how are you going to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the President, given your role as London's Police and Crime Commissioner?


Answer for President Trump's Visit

Answer for President Trump's Visit

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Chairman.  The safety of any visitor to London, including President Trump, is of course paramount.  As the nation’s capital and seat of the Government, London has long experience of preparing for visits from heads of states, including presidents of the United States.  Last month a significant police operation was put in place to successfully ensure the safety of the 53 member states attending the first full Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in London in almost 40 years.  The MPS is working closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and other key partners to ensure the president’s visit can take place safely.


As you would expect with any high-profile visit from a head of state, risks or potential threats are always carefully assessed and an appropriate policing plan is then put in place that mitigates those risks.  I will of course be discussing the event with the Commissioner of the MPS and have every confidence in the operational policing response.  In coming to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division, and hope over fear.


There could well be a demonstration or two.  If there are, the MPS and I are committed to ensuring this happens in a peaceful and lawful manner.  There is a significant policing cost attributed to any such event of this scale.  This is an example of the disproportionate cost of policing that falls on London, as the nation’s capital, which central Government continually refuses to sufficiently fund through the National, International and Capital City (NICC) grant, which is currently given only half, £170 million of the £340 million, it costs Londoners.  I will continue to press the Government to ensure that London is fully funded to ensure we have enough police officers to keep our city safe and secure.


David Kurten AM:  Thank you for your answer, Mr Mayor, and I am very glad that you are taking the safety and security of the President seriously.  It is vital that this trip is successful, because President Trump is a good President and he is going to visit this country.  It is going to open up many opportunities for trade and increasing the relationship we have with him.  The concern that people have, Mr Mayor, is that the words that you have said as Mayor, as the Police and Crime Commissioner, in talking about loud protests, could be seen by some to be encouraging protests that may be unruly to the President when he comes.  Do you not think you should have been a little bit more responsible in your use of words and not using your air time to be saying, in a jokey way, “There could be protests, there may well be loud protests”, because that may be courting trouble during the President’s visit?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, the Assembly Member rightly reminded politicians of the importance of the words they use.  When a politician uses words like this,


“Conservative and Labour politicians are busy blaming each other but as usual are too politically correct to even consider mentioning the root causes of knife violence, a surge in migration of young people from parts of Somalia and Congo with a culture where extreme violence is normal and on a completely different level to anything known before in the United Kingdom.”


That is an example of language being used in a way that I think is dangerous.  My point to you is this: is there any problem in this country that is not the fault of immigration?


David Kurten AM:  This is MQT, so I am asking you the questions rather than you asking me the questions.  Obviously, you sit in a party that has large problems with anti-Semitism and you sit in a party that tolerates an MP who once retweeted that the victims of abuse in Rotherham should shut their mouths for the sake of diversity.  I think those are very, very dangerous words from people in their own party, so I would not throw stones when you live in a greenhouse.  You seem to ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The idea of being lectured about racism by a United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) representative ‑‑


David Kurten AM:  You seem to have a certain personal animosity to President Trump.  You know he is coming to this country.  He is coming on a visit to this country.  I wonder why you single out 

one particular head of state for negative comments when we have other heads of state visiting this country this year.  We had the head of state of Saudi Arabia visiting this country.  You said nothing about Saudi Arabia’s policies and culture in that visit.  You have said, when you were talking about President Trump, “Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear”.  You also mentioned, when you were grandstanding around the world ‑‑ when you went to France you said, “A woman should be allowed to wear whatever she likes”, but in Saudi Arabia that is not the case.  When the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia came to visit London, you missed an opportunity to stand up for women’s rights and freedom of speech, particularly freedom of religious belief in Saudi Arabia, which is very restricted.  Why do you keep mentioning President Trump but you decided not to say anything about those issues in Saudi Arabia?  What is the difference?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The difference is this: we have a special relationship with the United States of America.  They are our best friends.  We do not have the same special relationship with these other countries.  I think one of the responsibilities when you are a best friend is to stand shoulder to shoulder at times of adversity but to call them out when they are wrong.  I appreciate some people like to be sycophants all the time.  I believe it is important, though, to call out your best friend and I think it is out of order amplifying tweets of Britain First.  I think it is out of order amplifying racist tweets that divide our communities and you should be ashamed as a UKIP representative to continue that behaviour.