London (CNN)— London’s calling, Donald Trump, but you may not like what Westminster has to say.
The quixotic but popular push to ban the Republican presidential candidate from the United Kingdom is set to be debated in Parliament, a spokeswoman for the House of Commons told CNN.
The debate has been scheduled for January 18 in Westminster Hall, where any member of Parliament is allowed to participate.
An online citizen’s petition to ban Trump from the United Kingdom garnered more than 568,000 signatures , well above the 100,000 threshold required for a measure to be considered for a debate, since being filed on December 8.
The petition says that because the country has banned entry to people for “hate speech” before, “the same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.”
Last week, the UK government released a statement reaffirming that Home Secretary Theresa May has the power to “exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be nonconducive to the public good.”
The statement did not clearly state whether her office would apply that criteria to Trump.
“The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right,” the official comment reads. “She will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.”
After Trump launched his proposal to temporarily halt the immigration of Muslims into the United States, Prime Minister David Cameron called the billionaire “stupid” and “three times a loser.”
Trump owns a golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The Trump Organization released a statement specifying its investments and criticizing any possible move to restrict travel.
“Any action to restrict travel would force The Trump Organization to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom. Westminster would send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment,” it read.
“This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr. Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 presidential election. Many people now agree with Mr. Trump that there is a serious problem that must be resolved. This can only be achieved if we are willing to discuss these tough issues openly and honestly.”
Source : CNN