Despite protests outside Parliament and by its members from all of the main political parties arguing against President Donald Trump’s planned state visit to Britain, the British government defended its decision to invite him Monday. Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan told parliament it was “entirely right” to extend a hand to Trump. “In the light of America’s absolutely pivotal role, we believe it entirely right that we should use all the tools at our disposal to build common ground with President Trump,” Duncan told Reuters. Duncan’s comments came as Parliament debated a petition signed by 1.8 million people seeking to prohibit Trump from coming for a state visit. The petition argued that a state visit by Trump would be an embarrassment for Queen Elizabeth, a sentiment shared by the thousands of protesters who gathered outside with calls to “dump Trump.” While some lawmakers spoke out against the visit, the debate was mostly symbolic and had no power to force the government to withdraw its invitation. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Trump’s visit will go ahead as planned.