Despite Trump backlash, UK's May 'very happy' to invite him

US President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Theresa May, British prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan 27.
US President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Theresa May, British prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan 27. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Theresa May was "very happy" to invite US President Donald Trump for a state visit to Britain, her Downing Street office said on Monday (Jan 30) as Mrs May faced a popular backlash at home over the planned visit.

Numerous politicians, including some in her own party ranks, have said a full state visit involving lavish royal pageantry would be inappropriate following Mr Trump's controversial executive order on immigration restrictions, and a petition against the visit had gathered 1.3 million signatures by Monday lunchtime.

"To be clear, the Prime Minister extended an invitation on behalf of the Queen - and she was very happy to do so. The USA is one of this country's closest allies, and we look forward to hosting the President later this year," Downing Street said.