Donald Trump accused of blackmailing Scotland

  • 7 January 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Trump at Menie Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Trump owns two Scottish golf courses

The campaigner behind a petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from the UK has accused him of attempting to blackmail Scotland.

Mr Trump has threatened to withhold £700m of investment if he is prevented from travelling to the UK.

A petition started by Suzanne Kelly calling for the US presidential hopeful to be refused entry has been signed by more than 570,000 people.

Ms Kelly said Mr Trump had "thrown a temper tantrum" over the issue.

She started the petition, which is to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons later this month, in the wake of Mr Trump calling for a temporary ban on Muslims travelling to the US.

In a statement on Wednesday, 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 £200m plans to develop its Trump Turnberry golf course and a further £500m investment earmarked for its Trump International Golf Links at Menie in Aberdeenshire.

But Ms Kelly, from Aberdeen, questioned the value of Mr Trump's investments in Scotland and the number of "permanent, desirable jobs" they had created.

'Threatening Scotland'

She said: "Donald Trump is a man that knows the cost of everything - well, a hugely inflated cost of everything - and the value of nothing.

"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."

Mr Trump 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.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Trump is seen as the frontrunner in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate

Ms Kelly said Mr Trump "had promised millions flowing into our economy every year" from the Menie resort.

But she claimed the reality was "a man who's stopped our experimental offshore wind farm programme thereby costing thousands of jobs and who has cost untold sums in fighting his court appeals, which finally failed".

She added: "If our electors value money more than the rights of Muslims - and everyone else he has denigrated - then we may need new electors.

"Some might consider this to be blackmail on his part - and as such there's more than a little deja vu about it."

'Stupid and wrong'

Although MPs are to debate Ms Kelly's petition on 18 January, there will be no vote.

It will remain a decision for Home Secretary Theresa May whether or not Mr Trump should be prevented from travelling to the UK.

A rival petition urging the UK government not to ban Mr Trump has received 41,000 signatures and will also be debated on 18 January.

Prime Minister David Cameron has previously condemned Mr 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 last month joined the calls for Mr Trump to be considered for exclusion from the UK.

In its statement on Wednesday, 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 Mr 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 United Kingdom."

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