Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna have piled pressure on the home secretary over the Tories’ increasingly close relationship with Donald Trump and the impact of the US president’s “Muslim ban”.
The Labour backbenchers, who now serve on the home affairs select committee, questioned Amber Rudd and forced her to admit, after initially simply describing the protests against Trump’s executive order, that the move was “divisive and wrong” and that she would raise it in her next meeting with US officials.
Rudd, who replaced Theresa May as home secretary last summer, denied Trump’s decision – covering Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and the Yemen – was a “Muslim ban” but that people would “draw their own conclusions” about the nations which had been selected. They are all majority Muslim states.
Cooper, the committee chair and former shadow home secretary, said the way the measure had been prepared “does make it look an awful lot like a Muslim ban”, to which Rudd responded: “I think the important thing is for this government to state that we disagree with the ban and we have said that it is divisive, it is wrong”.
When Rudd highlighted the protests against Trump, which took place in more than 35 British cities this week, she was accused by Cooper of failing to spell out her own opposition to the travel ban.
Rudd replied with the strongest ministerial condemnation yet, saying: “I find it divisive and wrong and I will look forward to raising ir further in my next meeting.”