LONDON: A petition to ban US presidential hopeful Donald Trump from Britain reached more than 230,000 signatures on Wednesday after the Republican frontrunner called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The petition will now be considered for debate by parliament as it has over 100,000 signatures, and will receive a written government response.
“The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK,” said the petition.
Trump’s comments have caused an outcry in Britain and prompted the Scottish government on Wednesday to drop him as a business ambassador for the country, where he owns golf courses and hotels.
“Mr Trump’s recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland,” a spokesman for the regional government said.
Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland, took up the role in 2006.
Remarks by the property billionaire that police feared for their lives in parts of London due to radicalisation caused a social media outcry and drew the ire of the capital’s mayor, Boris Johnson.
“When Donald Trump says there are parts of London that are no-go areas, I think he is betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States,” Johnson told ITV News.
The anti-Trump petition was posted late on Tuesday by Scottish resident Suzanne Kelly, a long-time critic of the 69-year-old.
Twenty-four lawmakers have also signed two House of Commons motions condemning the remarks. One calls on the government “to refuse a visa allowing Donald Trump to visit the UK until Mr Trump withdraws his comments”.
Finance Minister George Osborne told parliament that Trump’s comments were “nonsense” but added that debate was “the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views rather than trying to ban presidential candidates”.
Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” following recent attacks that left 14 people dead in California and killed 130 in Paris.
He later defended his comments on US network MSNBC, saying: “They have sections in Paris that are radicalised, where the police refuse to go.
“We have places in London… that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives.”
A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said Trump “could not be more wrong” and invited all US presidential candidates for a briefing “on the reality of policing London”.
More than 17,000 had signed another petition, also launched by Kelly, calling on the Robert Gordon University in the Scottish city of Aberdeen to strip Trump of an honorary degree awarded in 2010.