UK parliament to discuss whether to ban Trump from country

UK lawmakers to debate banning Donald Trump from country following remarks on Muslims

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on January 2, 2016 in Biloxi, Mississippi

British lawmakers are to discuss a ban US presidential Donald Trump entering the UK following his controversial remarks on Muslims.

The debate will be held on Jan. 18 in response to a 568,000-signature public petition to bar Trump from Britain, where he has a number of business interests.

An opposition lawmaker and member of the Petitions Committee Paul Flynn will lead the debate in Westminster Hall rather than the House of Commons’ chamber, meaning any vote would not have legal force.

"By scheduling a debate on these petitions, the committee is not expressing a view on whether or not the government should exclude Donald Trump from the UK," Committee Chairwoman Helen Jones said.

"As with any decision to schedule a petition for debate, it simply means that the committee has decided that the subject should be debated," she added.

The petition, which has run since Dec. 8, refers to the fact that Britain restricts entry to many people for hate speech.

"If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behavior’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful," the petition said.

The petition was started after Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings.

The British government said in an earlier response to the petition that it could ban nationals from outside of the European Economic Area from entering Britain but would not comment on individual immigration decisions.

British Home Secretary Theresa May, who decides on banning orders, said that she could not comment on the case.

Trump has drawn criticism from all around the world for past anti-Muslim statements.

In November, Trump pledged to consider closing down some mosques in the US as part of the fight against DAESH militants who claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks which left at least 130 people dead and more that 350 others wounded.

TRTWorld and agencies