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US president Donald Trump’s executive order clamping down on immigration from seven mainly Muslim countries is “divisive and wrong,” prime minister Theresa May has said.

Speaking at the weekly prime minister’s questions session in the House of Commons, the prime minister, who has been accused of making a sluggish response to the sudden immigration order, said:

This government is clear that this policy is wrong. We believe it is divisive and wrong.

The UK would not introduce similar measures, she added.

Responding to questions by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the matter, she said she had no advance notice of the move but said everyone should have been aware of Mr Trump’s stance on immigration, given his election campaign. “The job of government is not to chase headlines,” she said. “The job of government is not to take to the streets in protest but to protect the interests of British citizens.”

Pushed further, she hurled a barb, noting of Mr Corbyn that “he can lead a protest, I am leading a country”.

She also said the white paper laying out the UK’s strategy on leaving the EU will be released tomorrow.

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