London: Republican US presidential front- runner Donald Trump, owner of two Scottish golf courses, has been accused of attempting to "blackmail" Scotland by blocking 700 million pounds of investments if he is barred from visiting the UK over his controversial remarks on Muslims. Suzanne Kelly, the campaigner behind a petition signed by more than 570,000 people calling for Trump to be banned from the UK has accused the real estate tycoon of attempting to blackmail Scotland. She started the petition, which is to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons later this month, after Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims travelling to the US.
In a statement yesterday, the Trump Organisation said any move to restrict the US presidential hopeful's travel would immediately bring an end to all future investments it is contemplating in the UK.
It said this would include 200 million pounds plans to develop its Trump Turnberry golf course and a further 500 million investment earmarked for its Trump International Golf Links at Menie in Aberdeenshire, the BBC reported. But Kelly questioned the value of Trump's investments in Scotland and the number of "permanent, desirable jobs" they had created.
"He's threatening Scotland once again, as he did over the offshore wind farms, that if he is barred from entering the UK, he'll pull out of his Scottish golf courses. "The irony of a man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the US throwing a temper tantrum over being similarly banned himself is apparent to everyone except the tycoon himself."
Trump, 69, has previously threatened to pull investment from his Aberdeenshire golf resort if a planned wind farm off the coast gets the go-ahead, with the US billionaire taking legal action in a bid to halt it, the report said. Although MPs are to debate Kelly's petition on January 18, there will be no vote. It will remain a decision for Home Secretary Theresa May whether or not Trump should be prevented from travelling to the UK. A rival petition urging the UK government not to ban Trump has received 41,000 signatures and will also be debated on January 18. Prime Minister David Cameron has previously condemned Trump's remarks about Muslims as "divisive, stupid and wrong", but has also made clear he did not support banning him.
But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently said Trump should be considered for exclusion from the UK. In its statement, the Trump Organisation said the UK would "create a dangerous precedent and send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment" if Trump was barred from the country. And it said any action to restrict his travel "would force the Trump Organisation to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the UK."