By Alexandra Gibbs | Members of the U.K. parliament are set to debate whether Donald Trump should be banned from entering the country, after more than half a million people signed an online petition calling for U.S. presidential candidate to be barred.
A petition was drawn up following the controversial comments made by the Republican presidential candidate in December 2015, when Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
In an interview with MSNBC, Trump added that such a move could prevent the country from having “radicalized” no-go areas like those in London and Paris, where police were “afraid for their own lives.”
U.K. citizens signed a petition to “Block Donald J Trump from U.K. entry”, which has already garnered over 574,500 signatures. A conflicting petition has been set up, arguing that it would be “totally illogical” to ban Trump from the U.K. This petition—which will also be debated by parliament on Monday—has been received over 43,000 signatures.
Not only is Trump running as a Republican presidential candidate which could impact his relationship with the U.K. if he becomes president, but he also owns golf courses in both Scotland and Ireland. Following the news of a potential ban, Trump’s company “The Trump Organization” threatened in January to pull $1 billion of planned investments into two Scotland golf resorts if a travel ban is served.
For Parliament to consider debating such issues, e-petitions must reach at least 100,000 signatures, however it is possible for MPs to consider a petition for debate, before it reaches this figure.
Ahead of Monday’s debate, the U.K.’s Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn said he was not in favor of a ban itself, but would like to take the Republican billionaire on a visit to see a mosque in London.
“I decided to invite Donald Trump on his visit to Britain to come with me to my constituency because he has problems with Mexicans and he has problems with Muslims,” Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, adding that he wanted to let Trump talk to those who attend the mosque and see the “great diversity” in Britain’s society.
Following the petition’s popularity, the government responded to the e-petition saying it has a “policy of not routinely commenting on individual immigration or exclusion cases,” however added that exclusion powers are “very serious and are not used lightly.”
The parliamentary debate today will not see a vote to exclude Trump or directly change the law. E-petition debates act as general debates, for MPs to weigh in on the concerns raised by petitioners, and potentially ask questions about the government’s position on the topic.
What these debates do is “help to raise the profile of a campaign” and potentially “influence decision-making in Government and Parliament,” according to U.K. Parliament’s website.
Another MP from the Labour party, Paul Flynn, echoed Corbyn’s thoughts, telling CNBC that he would caution any ban against Donald trump from entering the U.K. at Monday’s debate.
“Any ban that we impose would be counterproductive and might give Trump the accolade of victim-hood,” Flynn told CNBC Monday, adding that it would be better to have a discussion with Trump about his views.
“I believe it’s far better to confront prejudice on this scale with the truth, rather than slam the door in his face and to give him the halo of martyrdom that might help him with his right-wing supporters.”
Parliament’s Westminster Hall has allocated three hours to discuss both petitions on Monday, which will be led by Labour Party MP Paul Flynn. It is set to take place at 4.30 pm U.K. time (11.30 am ET).
Should Donald Trump be banned from entering the UK?
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