London: The British Parliament will debate this month whether to ban controversial US presidential candidate Donald Trump from entering the country over his anti-Muslim remarks.
Lawmakers will get to speak in the House of Commons on a petition calling for the US Republican hopeful to be excluded from Britain. A petition, posted on the UK government website, calling for Republican presidential candidate Trump to be barred from Britain for his "hate speech" against Muslims received more than 550,000 signatures -? way over the 100,000 needed to qualify for a debate in the Parliament. It was launched last month after Trump declared in a speech that Muslims should be banned from the US for security reasons.
A second petition, rejecting the need for a ban, is also to be included in the debate, the parliamentary Petitions Committee has announced. "The motion debated will be 'That this House has considered e-petitions 114003 and 114907 relating to the exclusion of Donald Trump from the UK' on Monday 18 January at 4.30pm," a statement said.
"Paul Flynn MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, will lead the debate." Initially, the government had responded by saying that it disagrees with Trump's comments, with the UK Home Secretary Theresa May describing them as "divisive, unhelpful and wrong" but stopping short of excluding him. "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 UK," said Chair of the Petitions Committee, Helen Jones MP.
"As with any decision to schedule a petition for debate, it simply means that the committee has decided that the subject should be debated. A debate will allow a range of views to be expressed." The US presidential hopeful made his call for a "total and complete shutdown of the Muslims entering the US" in the wake of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, last month. A poll in the UK found 29 per cent of people contacted by Sky News supported him, with 51 per cent opposed. There is no political requirement for the result of a debate to become government policy.