UK Politics

MPs to debate call to ban Donald Trump from UK

Donald Trump Image copyright Getty Images

British MPs are set to debate a petition later (16:30 GMT) calling for a ban on Donald Trump from entering the country. You'll be able to follow the debate in video and text here.

Who is Donald Trump?

A billionaire New York property mogul and former star of the US Apprentice who is the surprise front runner in the race to be the next Republican candidate for the White House.

He seems to have made a lot of Brits angry

More than 570,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Donald J Trump to be banned from the UK, more than enough to trigger a debate in Parliament.

Controversial comments

Trump's supporters love his straight-talking style. The more taboos he breaks the higher he seems to go in the polls. He sparked outrage at the start of his campaign by branding Mexicans "criminals" and "rapists". He has also come in for flak from his opponents over comments about a female Fox News presenter and a disabled reporter.

The final straw

The UK petition was launched after Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the US until the authorities "can figure out" their attitudes. He also claimed London had become "so radicalised" the city's police force are "afraid for their own lives" and there are "no-go zones".

Could Trump actually be banned from the UK?

Image copyright PA

Home Secretary Theresa May can - and does - prevent people from entering the UK because of things they have said. The Home Office says she does not use these powers lightly, only "if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good" or if they are people who "seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values".

Who's on Britain's blacklist?

Image copyright Getty Images

Florida pastor Terry Jones, pictured, who gained notoriety for trying to organise a Koran-burning protest, white supremacist Don Black and Safwat Hegazy, a controversial Egyptian preacher, are among those to have been barred from Britain in recent years.

What about politicians?

Image copyright Getty Images

Dutch MP Geert Wilders, pictured, who called the Koran a "fascist book" was banned from entering the UK in 2009 on security grounds. He overturned the ban on appeal and flew into Heathrow in a blaze of publicity.

What Cameron thinks

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In a rare intervention in US politics, Prime Minister David Cameron labelled Trump's comments "stupid and wrong" but said he did not support a ban, saying the tycoon would "unite us all against him" if he visited the UK.

Could Monday's debate change Cameron's mind?

Image caption MPs take part in an earlier Westminster Hall debate

It's unlikely. The three-hour debate is not taking place in the Commons chamber - the place where British laws are made - but in a side chamber, Westminster Hall, and there will not be a vote at the end of it.

A ban would be 'counterproductive'

Paul Flynn, pictured, the veteran Labour MP who is proposing Monday's motion, says he does not want to see Trump banned from the UK as it would hand the Republican candidate a publicity coup. More than 40,000 people have signed a counter-petition, arguing that it would be "totally illogical" to ban Trump, which will also be debated by the MPs.

"Let me take you by the hand..."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brixton, in south London, would be on Flynn's itinerary

Taking his cue from the folk song Streets of London, Paul Flynn says he would like to take Mr Trump by the hand and show him what Britain is like. He told BBC News: "I would invite him to show me where the no-go areas are in Britain and have a discussion about why in the UK we have fewer gun shot deaths per year than America has per day. Perhaps we can have a stroll down to Brixton to have a look at the racial harmony there."

British lefties lecturing the Americans

"If we are seen as a group of left-wingers opposing Trump it could have the reverse effect to the one the petitioners want," says Flynn. He says he wants to avoid interfering in US politics and will stress that country's proud tradition of free speech.

So what's the point of the debate?

Paul Flynn says he wants to give a voice to the petitioners' anger. There will be MPs who disagree with Mr Flynn, insisting a ban is necessary, and possibly some who will support his views.

Salmond v Trump

Image copyright Reuters

The big question for many on Monday, is will Alex Salmond put in an appearance? The former SNP leader has had a long-running spat with Trump, who recently called him "an embarrassment to Scotland". Trump is proud of his Scottish ancestry but his investments in Aberdeenshire and ownership of the Turnberry golf resort have created controversy.

He was stripped of his status as a business ambassador for Scotland by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after his Muslim comments.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Salmond said he personally backed a ban, telling the BBC: "My view is that, yes, I would probably ban "The Donald" because it would do him some good. He wants to ban all Muslims from the US. I want to ban all Donald Trumps from Scotland."

Image copyright AFP

The last word?

MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh will be speaking for the Scottish National Party in Monday's debate. But don't bet against Salmond having a say also.

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