This weekend Theresa May discovered why it is a prime minister most fears events. After a well executed two-day charm offensive in America cementing the UK/US special relationship, the Prime Minister was plunged into a row over President Trump’s decision to stop travellers and refugees from seven Muslim countries gaining entry into the US. May’s sluggish response to condemn the move (after initially dodging the question in a press conference in Turkey) has led to her being branded ‘Theresa the appeaser’.
As Jeremy Corbyn appeared on Peston on Sunday to put pressure on the Prime Minister over her relationship with Trump, May borrowed a trick from Osborne and sent David Gauke to try and clear up the mess on the Andrew Marr show. Asked about the delay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said what was important was not the amount of time a statement had taken but what May had said:
AM: Is that simply because we have to make nice to the Americans?
DG: I think Nadhim put his finger on it, the Prime Minister is not a shoot from the hip type of politician. She wants to see the evidence, she wants to understand precisely what the implications are. She’d been in a series of very lengthly meetings with President Erdogan, and she is someone who wants to see the briefing and then respond to that. I think there are times when there’s always pressure to respond in a news cycle but the important thing is we are saying we disagree with it and we think it’s wrong.
However, it was Nadhim Zahawi’s appearance that hammered home the consequences of the ban. The Tory MP, who was born in Iraq, spoke of his sadness that he is now unable to visit America, where his two sons are at university, as a result.