News / Europe

    British Lawmakers Debate Banning Trump

    FILE - Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump before the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate, North Charleston Coliseum, Jan. 14, 2016.
    FILE - Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump before the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate, North Charleston Coliseum, Jan. 14, 2016.
    VOA News

    British lawmakers debated Monday a petition signed by more than 500,000 people seeking to ban U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from Britain.

    Last month Trump, a billionaire real estate developer and frontrunner among Republican candidates, prompted international outrage by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States "until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on."

    He proposed the ban after a December 2 mass shooting that killed 14 people in California by two Muslims whom the FBI said had been radicalized.

    The debate, called by the Petitions Committee of the lower house of parliament, cannot result in any binding conclusion.


    Labor lawmaker Paul Flynn chairs the committee and will be lead the debate. He criticized Trump's comments, but warned that actually banning him could be "counter-productive" and give him more publicity.

    In the past, people have been banned from entering Britain for fostering hatred that might provoke inter-community violence.

    Anti-Muslim American speakers such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have been blocked from entering the country by these rules before, as have extremist Islamic preachers and others whose presence the home secretary has decided would "not be conducive to the public good," the Washington Post reported.

    In December, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Trump's comments were "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong."

    Finance Minister George Osborne said Trump's comments flew in the face of the founding principles of America but that banning him from Britain was not the best way to respond.

    Critic launched petition

    The petition was launched by longtime Trump critic Suzanne Kelly, a Scottish-based campaigner, who said, "The U.K. has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the U.K. 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 British government responds to all petitions that gain more than 10,000 signatures and topics are considered for parliamentary debate if they reach 100,000.

    A separate petition, which opposes banning Trump from the country, will also be debated.

    Helen Fenwick, a professor at Durham Law School, told the Post that some supporters of the Trump ban say that the American businessman should be banned from the country because he has incited hatred on the grounds of religion, something made illegal by Britain's hate speech legislation. However, Fenwick doubts that Trump's comments would fall within that definition — his comments were insulting rather than threatening, she noted to the paper.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Kaythi Aung from: Myanmar
    January 21, 2016 9:36 AM
    If banning Trump is approved by UK for proposing banning Muslims, banning UK nationalities from the United States of America should be considered for banning American people's lives from safety. If Muslims are shooting people in UK and making violence, what would UK do?

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 19, 2016 2:21 PM
    We made this mistake once before due to the stupidity of our government;

    "The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans, who departed from Cuba's Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980. The event was precipitated by a sharp downturn in the Cuban economy, which led to internal tensions on the island and a bid by approximately 10,000 Cubans to gain asylum in the Peruvian embassy.

    The Cuban government subsequently announced that anyone who wanted to leave could do so, and an exodus by boat started shortly afterward. The exodus was organized by Cuban-Americans with the agreement of Cuban president Fidel Castro. The exodus started to have negative political implications for U.S. president Jimmy Carter when it was discovered that a number of the refugees had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities."

    See Britain, that is how we are different from you. Some of us at least learn from our past mistakes and don't make them again. Those were ordinary criminals. You'd have us accept terrorists as well because of your kumbaya kumbaya politically correct mentality that has wrecked your nation. It's why we don't pay any attention to anything you say. We've got a kumbaya kumbaya president now. We hope we'll still have a nation when we are finally rid of him.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 19, 2016 11:47 AM
    Go ahead Britain, ban him. I always felt there was unfinished business between us when the Treaty of Ghent was signed 202 years ago. Now would be as good a time as ever to finish it and banning him would be the perfect pretext. Only how are you going to approach him next time you need to bring your beggar bowl around to the US again. The UK and especially the BBC is even more jealous of America than France is and that is going some.

    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    January 19, 2016 8:04 AM
    Possibly all the 500,000 signatories were not real britons by immigrants with islamic connection.

    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    January 19, 2016 8:02 AM
    Simply UK is a dangerous Muslim country.Islam has taken over Britain.Not very far away into future it will be ISS center.As a matter of fact the indigenous people of UK and all Europe are living under Asian colonial masters only that they do not have that audacity and bravery of saying it openly.Just let Trump talk on your behalf.HE SPEAKS PLAIN TRUTH.

    by: Bill Thompson
    January 18, 2016 3:10 PM
    With England virtually taken over by Muslims I find it shocking that Parliament would ban him as he is saying what a lot of British people are thinking but have no voice.
    There are so many towns that now have Muslim no go areas that I thought the British politicians would not even think of this.

    by: XX from: Canada
    January 18, 2016 2:21 PM
    Britain is compelled to do so because of its economic ties with Saudi Arabia and the whole Middle East. Let's face it: the BBC is more towards Islam than the Christian West. I wonder, as well, if those signatures are not from muslims themselves. Donal Trump is free to say what he thinks a free world.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 18, 2016 1:51 PM
    Once again Britain shows it thinks America is still its colony and can tell us what we can and can't do, say, and think even here in the USA. They refuse to accept that the revolution was against them, a rejection of who and what they are. Now Britain is America's colony and we could dictate to them to whatever degree we choose and they'd have no choice but to comply. Personally I'd like to see President Trump as one of his first acts in office break off all US relations with the UK for 90 days and send all Brits packing back to England, or Scotland, or Wales, or wherever they're from.

    The Scots are surely no better than the English, their sole redeeming value is that we don't much understand what they say so we are less offended by their insults. Britain is not a particularly clever country and if Americans knew more about them, I think they'd be as disgusted by them as I am. I think of Winston Churchill as among other things their groveler in chief who had to beg Roosevelt to bail it out as it was on the verge of falling to the Nazis due to its own usual stupidity.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 19, 2016 11:50 AM
    Nations don't have friends or allies, they have interests. What has the UK ever done for America. If the US hadn't revolted against Britain and broken free when it did, we'd be no better than Canada.
    In Response

    by: Derek from: NJ
    January 19, 2016 9:42 AM
    Xenophobia seems rampant among Trump supporters. Britain is America's closest ally & friend & it would be silly to break off US relations w/ our NATO partner. The US doesn't have that many reliable allies so doing something this stupid isn't in America's national interest.
    In Response

    by: Frank
    January 18, 2016 11:49 PM
    All things to all people appears to be the order of the day sadly, such hypocrisy. However worthwhile noting no demonstrations or petitions in the UK against ISIL , like France, where David Cameron showed solidarity with the French people.

    by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
    January 18, 2016 10:38 AM
    "The people who went in this direction are not some separate species of critter on this earth. They're people like other people which means that other people could fall for this nonsense if they are so inclined." -- Gerhard Weinberg Hitler's insanity may be repeating itself before our eyes -- and again reasonable people seem helpless to stop it.
    In Response

    by: David
    January 18, 2016 2:01 PM
    Regrettably President Assad of Syria responsible for the Syrian genocide has not had a petition signed against his name.? and Dictators in Africa, responsible for genocides have not had petitions raised against their names. Something really wrong here with those petitioners, against perpetrators of real genocides, but then again military actions, would mean British involvement in conflicts - far easier to abstain and ban people, who have the courage to speak out, albeit "bluntly", something undiplomatic in today's standards of polite etiquette old chap.

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