Donald Trump, miraculously, has yet to wear out his welcome among the masses of the Republican Party; many Brits, however, have had enough. The British government announced Tuesday that the House of Commons will hold a public debate on whether to bar Trump from the United Kingdom, in response to an online petition calling for Trump’s ban that has garnered more than 568,000 signatures, well over the 100,000 needed to send a petition before parliament for consideration. The debate will be held on Jan. 18 and will be streamed online.
The petition was created in December in the wake of Trump’s calls for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Trump went on to justify his plan, the Guardian notes, claiming there are “places in London and other places that are so radicalized that police are afraid for their own lives.” Trump’s comments tweaked many in the U.K. (via the Washington Post):
In an unusually disdainful statement, London’s Metropolitan Police said, “Mr. Trump could not be more wrong.” London Mayor Boris Johnson, a member of the right-wing Conservative Party who is tipped by some to be the next British leader, also responded: “The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” British Prime Minister David Cameron described Trump’s comments as “divisive, stupid and wrong.”
The creator of the petition, however, found Trump’s statements about Muslims to qualify as hate speech in the U.K. and many appear to agree with it’s declaration:
The signatories believe Donald J Trump should be banned from UK entry. The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK. If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ 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 parliamentary debate will likely be symbolic even though the government does maintain the right to bar individuals from entry to the country if their presence is considered “non-conducive to the public good.”
“George A. Sorial, an executive for The Trump Organization, responded to the news of the debate, noting that the Trump Organization has plans for significant investments at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, as well as at the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen,” according to CBS News. “Any action to restrict travel would force The Trump Organization to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom,” Sorial said in a statement. “Westminster would send a terrible message to the World that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment. This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr. Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 Presidential Election.”