World

British Parliament Will Debate Banning Trump From the U.K.

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Lowell, Massachusetts January 4. A successful British petition calling for Trump to be banned from the U.K. means parliament will debate the issue later this month. Brian Snyder/Reuters

Donald Trump, the bombastic candidate for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination, is used to provoking controversy. But when a western democracy considers banning you from its shores, is it time to rethink your approach to public speaking?

Later this month, British MPs will debate possibly shutting Trump out of the U.K., it was confirmed Tuesday, after a petition on the parliament.uk website gathered over 560,000 signatures. Parliament is required to consider holding a debate on any petition which gathers over 100,000 signatures.

In December, Trump sparked international outrage after he called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the U.S. “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” he said at the time.

Later, Trump took a jab at what he called Britain’s “Muslim problem.” “We have places in London and other places that are so radicalized that the police are afraid for their own lives,” he told MSNBC. “We have to be very smart and very vigilant.”

In its call to ban Trump from Britain’s shores, the petition says: “The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.”

The right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, a critic of Islam, was barred from entering the UK in 2009 because authorities thought his presence could threaten public security. In September 2015, American rapper Tyler, the Creator said he had been banned from the country because of allegedly offensive lyrics he had written.

The parliamentary debate, which will take place on January 18, will not necessarily lead to any change in U.K. policy towards Trump. “By scheduling a debate on these petitions, the committee is not expressing a view on whether or not the government should exclude Donald Trump from the U.K.,” said Helen Jones, chair of parliament’s petitions committee, according to the Evening Standard. “As with any decision to schedule a petition for debate, it simply means that the committee has decided that the subject should be debated.”

Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have said in the past that they do not want to keep Trump out of the UK, though in December the Prime Minister’s office did condemn his proposed ban on Muslims.