A petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK has been signed by more than 400,000 people – and it is growing by the hour.
Point of view
If the UK 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 on-line petition was launched by a campaigner based in Scotland, Suzanne Kelly, who has also been a fierce critic of Trump and two golf courses he owns in Scotland.
But could the petition actually lead to a ban on Trump over his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the USA?
Some commentators point out that the government will always respond to a petition signed by more than 10,000 people.
And the issue becomes even more serious when a petition reaches the 100,000 mark, as the matter can then be considered for a parliamentary debate.
However, while criticising Trump, a senior government minister, the British Chancellor George Osborne, rejected the idea of a ban.
The petition, as well as the latest number of people who have signed, can be see at the official UK Government and Parliament website.
There is a precedent for such bans in the UK. Numerous people have been refused visas for entry for making public comments seen as “hate speech” or an attempt to incite violence.
Kelly’s petition states: “The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech.
“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.”
Trump has been to the UK before, recently visiting his golf courses in Aberdeenshire.
Generally, a UK Home Secretary or his or her department has the power to impose such bans, in consultation with other ministers or their ministries.
When Home Secretary Theresa May was asked whether she would consider such a ban, she said politicians must promote “cohesion among communities rather than division”.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has also described Trump’s proposal on Muslims as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong”.
In a rare move, the British Police also criticised Trump’s comments.
Also, responding to claims by Trump that parts of London were so radicalised now that police officers no longer patrol them, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”
Petition to stop Trump entering UK is getting 25,000 signatures an hour – https://t.co/fd5AflSfkB— Bibi van der Zee (@bibivanderzee) December 9, 2015
Over 100,000 Britons petition to ban Trump from UK https://t.co/1NgDWbe8Fr— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 9, 2015