British parliament debates banning Trump from UK

British MP’s debate banning Donald Trump from UK after petition attracts 500,000 signatures

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Rock Hill, South Carolina January 8, 2016.

A petition signed by more than half a million Britons calling for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be banned from the UK was debated in Britain's parliament on Monday.

After 14 people died in a shooting spree in California, Trump provoked controversy with his comments that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.

Petitions that reach more than 10,000 signatures are responded to by the British government, while ones that reach more than 100,000 are considered for parliamentary debate.

Member of parliament Paul Flynn announced that it would be very difficult to ignore the signatures of half a million people.

Some MPs argued Trump should be allowed into Britain where his views could be challenged, that a ban would give him more publicity or that it was not for Britain to get involved in US affairs.

Labour Party MP Tulip Siddiq said Trump’s words were not comical or funny, “His words are poisonous, they risk inflaming tension between vulnerable communities, and let me make one thing clear, we have legislation in our country to make sure we do not let people enter who are not conductive to the public good."

"My point is that hate crime is being inflamed and stoked by the words that Donald Trump is using," she said.

MP for the Democratic Unionist party, Gavin Robinson, said Trump may be a successful businessman but is also a buffoon and has a dangerous proclivity to say obscene or insensitive things to attract attention.

MP Naz Shah said that Trump is a demagogue and panders to people's fears as opposed to their strengths.

Trump has threatened to cancel over 700 million pounds of planned investments in Scotland if he is banned from the UK. A statement by Trump International Golf Links in Scotland strongly criticised the debate.

Ultimately a majority of MPs in the debate were against banning Trump from the UK, with one saying that doing so would give him the "halo of victimhood."

The interior minister Theresa May is the only person that can issue an order banning entry into Britain, so the result of the debate would have had little official impact regardless of the outcome. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that while Trump’s comments were divisive, he does not favour barring him.

TRTWorld and agencies