Shadow chancellor urge Cameron to cancel al-Sisi’s visit

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is leading a petition that calls for Prime Minister David Cameron to cancel an invitation to Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, to visit Downing Street. MacDonnel argues that al-Sisi is a military dictator responsible for a “regime of terror”.

McDonnell is one of 55 signatories to a letter urging the government to cancel the visit saying: “No considerations of commerce or realpolitik can justify such an invitation.”

Other signatories include Diane Abbott, the shadow international development secretary; Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP; Andrew Murray, the chief of staff at the Unite union; Michael Rosen, the author and activist; the Daily Mail journalist Peter Oborne; and Ken Loach, the filmmaker and co-founder of the Left Unity party, writes the Guardian.

Cameron was criticised in July for inviting al-Sisi despite widespread concern about the former army chief’s authoritarianism and human rights record. The invitation was confirmed by Downing Street the day after a death sentence against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was upheld by the Egyptian judicial, the country’s democratically elected president, who was deposed in a coup in 2013.

The letter sent to the Guardian, says: “We believe it violates the British values which the government claims to champion to welcome a ruler who has overthrown an elected government and instituted a regime of terror which has thrown back the cause of democracy in Egypt and the wider Middle East many years.

“While not necessarily supporting deposed president Morsi or the policies of his Freedom and Justice party, we note that he was democratically elected, and that his removal from office was effected by means of a military coup led by Sisi. Since then Sisi’s military-directed regime has massacred thousands of civilians.”