A decision to ban US President Donald Trump from the UK would “backfire big time” according to Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans who has said he will welcome the controversial new leader.
He spoke out as protestors across the country staged demonstrations and launched petitions calling for the planned state visit to be shelved.
The issue is expected to be debated in Parliament after senior Conservatives backed the call by more than 1.5M people.
Mr Evans, who attended President Trump’s inauguration, said: “I will welcome President Trump to the UK when he visits. I want to tell him of our close working relationship with BAC and the US over the Joint Strike Fighter project – and that the US is one of our most treasured trading partners.
“A policy of banning the President of one of our closest trading partners and a country with which we have shared history over the centuries, would backfire big time, hurt the UK economically and deny us any influence in the future.
“This policy of bans, if spread, would soon find the UK isolated and without friends. This is not in the best interests of Britain or the world.
“Donald Trump has been democratically elected as the President of the United States of America. He’s a man who was elected as he spoke the language of Middle America which had felt ignored and dispossessed. He entertained Theresa May for talks as the first world leader to the White House following the inauguration.
“He reintroduced Winston Churchill’s bust back into the Oval Office after Barack Obama had removed it. He is pro-British and was pro-Brexit, and he wants to see a quick trade deal with the UK.
Mr Evans, who met Mr Trump in Florida in 2012, said the policy of a country-wide ban on citizens entering the US is not one he supported but an assurance had been given it was temporary while the new vetting measures are introduced.
Mr Evans added:“President Obama introduced a country-wide ban upon Iraq in 2011 and 16 countries have bans against Israelis entering their countries. Many countries have human rights violations against their citizens and some are simply not democratic.
"The best action is dialogue, not bans.
“We are in a unique position in our special relationship with the US, which has already shown its effectiveness.
“Whatever you may think of him, Mr Trump has had a profound impact on the politics of 2016. It is my belief that, under the new American administration, the UK has a golden opportunity for new trade with the USA after we leave the European Union.”