U.K.'s May Stops Short of Condemning Trump's Muslim Refugee Bans

The soft statement follows public pressure over May's failure to speak out initially, following the friendly talks she held with the new U.S. president on Friday in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, stands for a photograph with Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, stands for a photograph with Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, criticized for dragging her feet on condemning U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial restrictions on Muslim refugees, put out a lukewarm statement of disapproval in the early hours of Sunday.

Bowing to intense pressure at home, May's spokesman said after midnight: "Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government.”

“But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. We are studying this new executive order to see what it means and what the legal effects are, and in particular what the consequences are for UK nationals. If there is any impact on UK nationals then clearly we will make representations to the US government about that."

May had been repeatedly asked about the ban on refugees and nationals from seven countries during her visit to Turkey Saturday, a day after she had friendly talks with Trump as the first world leader to meet the new president in Washington. She initially refused to condemn the action.

After being repeatedly pressed by journalists, May would only say: “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees.”

Aides refused to elaborate when May landed at Heathrow on Saturday evening - despite calls from members of parliament from across the political spectrum for her to do so.

Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, unimpressed by May's statement, called Sunday for Trump to be banned from visits to the UK and for the invitation he has been issued to a state dinner be rescinded --until the ban on Muslims in cancelled.

 "It’s slightly odd he should be invited so quickly and particularly in view of the statements that he’s made. I suspect this visit is something that might find its way into the long grass," the Labour leader told ITV'1's Sunday morning program.

Corbyn further argued that May should not be endorsing Trump until it becomes clear that his presidency was "actually going to protect fundamental rights and freedoms and laws".

Mo Farrah, Britain’s double 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion raged against Trump's ban and May's meek reaction.

"On 1 January this year, Her Majesty the Queen made me a knight of the Realm. On 27 January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien," Farrah said, speaking to The Guardian newspaper from Ethiopia, where he was training at high altitude in preparation for a race in Birmingham next month.

According to The Guardian, Farrah's plan was to return to the family home he shares with his wife and four children in Portland, Oregon in mid-March- if he is allowed in, that is.