Piers Morgan calls Sadiq Khan a 'free speech hypocrite' during heated debate over 'Trump Baby' blimp
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of hypocrisy in a debate with Piers Morgan for allowing a blimp showing President Trump as a baby to float above UK Parliament
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, defended his approval of a "baby Trump" blimp which is scheduled to fly above the city during the visit by the US President Donald Trump during an interview Khan had with veteran TV host Piers Morgan on Tuesday. After Khan's Greater London Authority gave the green signal to plans by protestors to fly the controversial balloon in the center of the major city as a demonstration against President Trump's visit, the mayor has come under fire from certain sections of the media.
On Tuesday, Khan was challenged by Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan over the controversy, attributing the London mayor's approval to his personal animosity against the US commander-in-chief. However, the city official said that he is only upholding the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest in the UK, asserting he could not act as a "censor".
He said: "My views are irrelevant. The issue is 'Do they have the freedom to protest, freedom to assemble and should they be allowed to do so? If it's peaceful and it's safe, they should."
Morgan fiercely retorted by asking the mayor if he would have okayed an image depicting Khan as a pig despite it being offensive to Muslims around the world, or if he would have endorsed a giant black baby blimp of erstwhile President Barack Obama in protest during his presidency.
Pointing his finger at the controversial mayor, Piers said: "I think there's hypocrisy here. I don't think you would allow in a million years a topless blimp of Hillary Clinton in a nappy had she won to be flown at Parliament. I don't think you would allow a black balloon depicting Obama in a nappy to be flown. I charge you with hypocrisy about free speech."
Taking the moral high ground, Khan hit back: "You know better than that, you're a journalist, you used to be an editor."
He later added: "I'm not sure why you are putting aside your longheld views because the guy happens to be your best mate. It's a slippery slope."
Continually sidestepping Morgan's incendiary questions, Khan added: "If it's peaceful and if it's safe. Look, I can't be the censor. It's not for me to decide what's in good taste or bad taste."
On Friday morning, the staggering 20ft high inflatable balloon, now called "Trump Baby", was granted permission to fly above Parliament Square Gardens for two hours during Trump's upcoming visit. Insisting that it was not up to him to be a "censor", Khan said he supported the decision taken by the Greater London Authority.
Khan and Trump have had a history of disputes over issues like crime and terrorism in recent months.
However, Morgan used the words "utterly ironic and weird" to describe Khan's hypocrisy when it came to protests surrounding Trump's UK visit. He said that Khan had no stance whatsoever when UK leaders visited Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey which have a history of questionable human rights records.
As of now, it is being said that more than 50,000 demonstrators would be taking to the streets of London to protest the American leader's state visit.
That being said, it is highly unlikely that the US president will come close enough to Westminster to see the blimp himself as his packed schedule will mostly keep him out of central London.
After attending the Nato summit in Brussels, Trump is scheduled to directly land in the UK on Thursday afternoon on board the Air Force One. Once he reaches, a series of engagements are lined up for the president on Friday before he makes his way to Scotland to spend the weekend.
Trying to sugarcoat his animosity against the US leader as much as possible, Khan asserted that the UK must be "candid" with a close ally such as the US, saying "that's how special relationships work."
In order to keep President Trump and his wife Melania away from undue repercussions, more than 10,000 law enforcement officers are planned to be deployed during his visit.
Apart from that, the $93 million Osprey aircraft will be stationed on the US Navy carrier, the herculean USS Harry S Truman, which has been docked in the south coast. The aircraft would be out on high alert once the American leader lands on British soil.
Meanwhile, a field of wheat near Prime Minister Theresa May's country home in Chequers features the words "f*** Trump" in Russian designed in a 200-meter huge crop circle.
The crop circle is understood to have been designed by anti-Trump activists so that it is visible to the US President when he flies over to the Prime Minister's country house by helicopter.
Thirty-three-year-old Henry Matthews, a photographer, flew a drone at 400ft to take a picture of the artwork after spotting the gigantic crop circle in a field in Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Bucks.
He said: "It wasn't made by me, but the creator would like to remain anonymous for now at least. It was made to send a special message to Trump as he flies to Chequers — he should see it through the left window of his chopper. All in all, it took about two weeks to design, and over 12 hours to make on a sweltering day. The word is Russian and means something rather unpleasant. It seems topical to me. The circle is over 200 meters wide - it's massive so it can be seen from the air, and the field belongs to a local farmer."