An online petition started earlier this month in Britain to ban US presidential candidate Donald Trump from entering the UK has now garnered over 565,000 signatures, more than any other facing the government right now.
On Dec. 29, it also earned a written government response. While noting the UK government does not “routinely comment” on individual cases, the response points out that it is within government’s right to exclude a non-EU area national who works against the public good, and then specifically mentions Trump, saying Prime Minister David Cameron disagrees with his remarks:
The Home Secretary may exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good.
The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.
Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly. The Home Secretary will use these powers when justified and based on all available evidence.
The Prime Minister has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s remarks. The Home Secretary has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong.
The Government recognises the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them. We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect.
Next week, a parliamentary committee will meet to decide whether or not to hold a debate in Parliament on the petition, the BBC reports. The petition was started after Trump called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States. Cameron has previously called Trump’s remarks “divisive, stupid and wrong,” but disagreed with a member of Parliament who suggested he should be banned.
The “block Donald Trump” petition now has more signatories than any of the over 2,400 petitions currently in front of the UK government.
Petitions made to the UK government are supposed to get a routine response after they collect 10,000 signatures, but there are almost two dozen that have not yet.
The UK’s Home Office has banned dozens of foreigners from the country for their incendiary remarks in recent history, including anti-Muslim American bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and Pakistan’s Nasr Javed, a senior member of the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Trump, who owns two golf courses in Scotland, has already been stripped of various honors and titles there in recent weeks. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon repealed his membership in the GlobalScots business network, and role as a global business ambassador for Scotland. The Scottish government said Trump was “no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland.”
Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University revoked an honorary degree it gave Trump in 2010, calling his statements “wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university.” And his Turnberry golf course will no longer host the British Open, according to a report in the Independent, because Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which governs the tournament, has decided Trump’s reputation is “toxic.”