British lawmakers to debate banning Trump from U.K.
LONDON — Britain’s lawmakers will debate Monday whether the government should ban the U.S. presidential race’s Republican front-runner from entering the United Kingdom.
As CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports, Donald Trump is doing in Britain was he’s done at home: becoming the news.
The debate will not take place in the House of Commons itself, but in Westminster Hall — the oldest part of the Parliamentary complex.
Phillips notes that, in its nearly 1,000 years of history, Westminster Hall may never have seen anything quite like this.
Trump has always been seen in the United Kingdom as a bit of a grotesque American curiosity — even as he promised to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Scottish golf resorts and touted his “big stake in this great piece of land.”
Back then his most outspoken opponent was a local farmer named Michael Forbes, who was refusing to move.
“What are you prepared to tell him?” Phillips asked Forbes in 2007.
“He’s fired,” replied the farmer bluntly.
But Trump has many more critics now, particularly since his campaign declaration that, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the Unites States.”
He was hardly finished his remarks before a petition was launched online demanding that he be banned from entering the U.K.
It has since gathered more than 500,000 signatures.
The official petition, having easily passed a designated 100,000-signature threshold, automatically triggered the debate in Parliament.
Trump’s remarks brought scathing reactions from Britons of all stripes, including Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who dubbed them “divisive, stupid and wrong.”
Even former Scottish pals have jumped on the dump-Donald band wagon.
Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond appeared on a radio call-in show and asked: “just because somebody’s a presidential candidate, are they allowed to say things which would be unacceptable if they were being made by a hate preacher? Which is why I suspect half a million folks have signed the petition.”
People who aren’t Donald Trump have been banned from the U.K. before, but they have tended not to be rich American businessmen running for president.
But that’s what’s on the table now, and that’s what Members of Parliament like Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh are proposing.
“It’s my understanding that the Home Secretary has banned 84 hate preachers from entering the U.K. Will the government lead by example in making Mr. Donald Trump number 85?” she asked on the floor of Parliament in the days before Monday’s official debate.
She was met with cries of “hear, hear” from her fellow lawmakers.
But the short answer, explains Phillips, is: almost certainly not.
The debate Monday will not be happy listening for Trump, but it won’t be binding, either.
The lawmakers won’t vote on whether they believe Home Secretary Teresa May should ban Trump from entering Britain, and any conclusion or consensus they do reach will be largely symbolic.
The final decision is May’s to make, and few think she’d take the step of unilaterally banning a possible future U.S. president from British soil.
But everybody’s talking about it, including the leader of the British opposition.
The Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn said over the weekend that he would welcome Trump to Britain — as he’d like to take him to his district to meet his Mexican wife, and to visit a mosque.