British politicians will discuss banning Donald Trump from entering the UK after a petition with nearly 574,000 signatures urged them to keep the controversial US presidential candidate out of the country.
The debate on Monday evening comes as the billionaire reality TV star continues to dominate the campaign to choose the Republican candidate for the US elections slated for November.
Labour Party MP Paul Flynn, who is convening the debate, said he sought to “represent the anger of petitioners” outraged over Trump’s targeting of minorities and views on man-made climate change, but did not want to ban the American business mogul outright.
“I will question whether a ban would be possible or perhaps counterproductive in bestowing victimhood on Mr Trump that could advantage him in the opinion of Americans,” Flynn said in a post on his personal website.
“A visit to the site of recent unprecedented areas of flooding in England might be useful and educational for Mr Trump, the global warming denier,” he added.
The debate will not lead to any binding parliamentary motion or vote, but the UK does have existing legislation banning figures deemed “not conducive to the public good”.
The UK has previously denied entry to religious leaders accused of promoting extremist beliefs and politicians, such as Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who have faced charges of Islamophobia.
“DIVISIVE, STUPID, AND WRONG”
Responding to a question in parliament last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron called Trump’s comments during his campaign “divisive, stupid, and wrong”, but said the Republican front-runner should not be banned.
“I think if he came to our country, he would unite us all against him,” Cameron said.
The debate comes as a left-wing activist group, Rise Scotland, demonstrated at properties owned by Trump in Scotland in solidarity with minority groups in the US.
“We aim today to disrupt, however briefly, Trump’s ability to generate profit in Scotland that will then be spent on his campaign of racist demonisation and scapegoating in the US,” the group said in a statement on its website.
Trump courted controversy in the aftermath of attacks by supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, in France and in the US state of California.
The billionaire proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States and increasing surveillance of mosques.
Earlier, Trump demanded the construction of a Mexican-funded wall on the US-Mexico border to keep migrants out of the US.
His views have attracted criticism domestically and internationally, as well as from within his own party.Yet, Trump holds a double-digit lead in the polls over his next closest opponent in the Republican nomination race. Al Jazeera