Donald Trump is a polarizing political figure, even in the United States, where he is the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. In the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister David Cameron has called Trump “stupid” and “a loser,” an online petition that asks the U.K. government to bar the presidential hopeful from entering the country has gained over 500,000 signatures.
In a recent statement, the U.K. government offered an inconclusive response to the online petition. While the official statement did not come right out and say that Trump would be banned from entering the country, it indicated that the U.K. government reserves that right.
Much of the statement dances around the issue of specifically banning Trump, but it does affirm that Home Secretary Theresa May has the power to “exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the U.K. if she considers their presence in the U.K. to be non-conducive to the public good.”
The statement goes on to point out that, “coming to the U.K. is a privilege and not a right.” It also suggests that Home Secretary May “will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the U.K. those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.”
Although many of Trump’s detractors might be quick to agree that the presidential hopeful is “non-conducive to the public good,” the statement does not specifically indicate that Trump is, or will be, banned from entering the country. However, it does go on to address differences of opinion between Trump and Prime Minister Cameron in detail.
“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 statement continues. “The Government recognizes 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 marginalization among those we endeavor to protect.”
However, the statement did not suggest that Trump would, in fact, be banned, and specifically indicated that, “Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly.”
CNN reports that the petition, which cites Trump’s use of “hate speech” went live on the U.K. Government and Parliament site on December 8, and that it topped 500,000 signatures by December 11. At the time of this writing, the petition is closing in on 570,000 signatures.
In a fashion similar to the “We the People” petitions filed on the official White House site, which receive an official response if they are able to garner 100,000 signatures in 30 days, petitions on the U.K. Government and Parliament site receive attention from the U.K. Parliament if they receive more than 100,000 signatures.
When the petition to ban Trump reached that mark, the U.K. government issued an inconclusive response about not commenting on immigration and exclusion cases.
“The Government has a policy of not routinely commenting on individual immigration or exclusion cases.”
Although the official statement did address the fundamental rift that exsists between some of the statements Trump has made, and the opinions of Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, it fell short of any kind of confirmation that Trump will, or even might be, excluded from entering the country.
According to the petition site, the petition has attracted sufficient interest that Parliament will consider a debate on the issue. As of this writing, Parliament has 24 days to set a date for a debate on the subject of blocking Donald Trump from entering the U.K.
Although the current election cycle is far from over, there is at least some chance that Donald Trump could be the next president of the United States. What do you think would happen if one of the United States’ strongest allies blocked the president from visiting?