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View from the House: Trump has made Europe more important than ever

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 January 2017

Mike Gapes MP

Mike Gapes MP

Archant

Three weeks ago I visited Yad Vashem, the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Israel. Yesterday I joined the Redbridge Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Valentines Park.

Last week when Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America many were concerned that he said “America First” – the slogan of pro-Nazi US isolationist groups in the 1930s.

Trump was backed by the US far right. He has a nationalist, protectionist agenda, wants to tear up international trade and climate agreements, and intends to confront China. Eight years ago President Obama was widely welcomed and even received a premature Nobel Peace Prize.

In contrast there were worldwide protests against Trump. But Prime Minister Theresa May is right to get an early meeting. The USA is still the most powerful, richest country in the world, and an important ally and partner. It contributes 73 per cent of Nato defence spending and 22pc of the United Nations budget.

America can be a force for good or bad whoever is president. And in practice a US president has less individual power than a British prime minister with a big majority.

Although the Republicans currently have a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, many in Congress do not agree with Trump. But rather than walking away from Europe, Britain should instead be working more closely with our European Union and Nato partners to mitigate the damage and dangers from across the Atlantic.


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