British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Thursday condemned the “awful” scenes of riots on the Capitol Hill in Washington DC and blamed US President Donald Trump for the violence that resulted in four deaths in clashes between protesters and American police.
The senior Cabinet minister told the BBC that it was the outgoing President’s words that fuelled the violence and accused Trump of doing nothing “de-escalate that”.
“His comments directly led to the violence, and so far he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong,” said Ms Patel.
“He basically has made a number of comments yesterday that helped to fuel that violence and he didn’t actually do anything to de-escalate that whatsoever… what we’ve seen is completely unacceptable,” she said.
Hundreds of pro-Trump supporters entered the Capitol on Wednesday — where lawmakers were meeting to confirm Mr Biden’s election victory — and staged an occupation of the building in Washington DC after he made several claims of electoral fraud. Both chambers of Congress were forced into recess, as protesters clashed with police and tear gas was released.
On Thursday, a White House spokesperson issued a Twitter statement to say there will be an “orderly transition” to Democrat President-elect Joe Biden, whose November 2020 election victory has since been by US lawmakers.
“Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Twitter statement.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said there was “no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power”.
The condemnation of the scenes in the US capital was cross-party in the UK, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying it was a “direct attack on democracy”, while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the events “utterly horrifying”.
A friend of President Trump and leader of the Brexit Party which has now transformed to Reform UK, Nigel Farage, also tweeted, “Storming Capitol Hill is wrong. The protesters must leave.”