300,000 sign 'Ban Trump from UK' petition, could be debated in British Parliament

The petition wants to ban Trump on the grounds of hate speech, as others have been banned before

300,000 sign 'Ban Trump from UK' petition, could be debated in British Parliament

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during a rally coinciding with Pearl Harbor Day Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

A petition calling for presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK has attracted more than 300,000 signatures and could be debated in the House of Commons.

It follows the Republican front-runner's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the US and his claim that parts of London were "so radicalised" that police were "afraid for their own lives".

Mr Trump's comments, which have drawn condemnation at home and abroad, came in the aftermath a shooting by a radicalised couple in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

In the UK, the petition on the parliament website calling on MPs to impose a bar on Mr Trump hit 200,000 signatures by 3.45pm.

A "heat map" suggests the constituencies of Bristol West, Bethnal Green and Bow and Holborn and St Pancras are among the areas where the most signatures have come from.

Once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures it is expected to be debated in the Commons, unless deemed unsuitable by the Commons petitions committee or unless the issue is being pursued "in another way".

Downing Street said any question of a ban on Mr Trump coming to Britain was "hypothetical" as it was not aware of any plans for him to visit.

George Osborne, standing in for David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions, was also cautious on the question of whether Mr Trump should be banned.

He said: "I think the best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage him in a robust democratic argument about why he is profoundly wrong about the contribution of American Muslims and indeed British Muslims.

"That is the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views rather than trying to ban presidential candidates." 

Home Secretary Theresa May declined to comment on the prospect of a ban, but did defend British police after Mr Trump's comments about London.

She said: "On the question of policing in London, I can assure you that Mr Trump has got it absolutely wrong," she said.

"Police in London are not afraid to go out and police the streets. They do a fantastic job for us day in, day out."

David Cameron has called Mr Trump's proposal "divisive and unhelpful", Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stripped Mr Trump of his status as business ambassador for Scotland, while senior politicians in France and Canada have spoken out too.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has revoked Mr Trump's doctorate of business administration that he was awarded in 2010 after more than 70,000 people signed a petition calling for the university to act.

An alternative petition "Don't ban Trump from the United Kingdom" has been set up on the website, and has gained more than 1,200 signatures.

Across the Atlantic, Barack Obama used an event commemorating the end of slavery to call for tolerance and respect.

"Remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others, regardless of what they look like ... or what faith they practice," he said.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton said the billionaire's comments aided terrorists.

"It's a shameful idea. It's also dangerous," she said.

"At a time when America should be doing everything we can to fight radical jihadists, Mr Trump is supplying them with new propaganda."

Muslim leaders in the US have also criticised the 69-year-old.

"ISIS is to Islam what Donald Trump is to American values: a complete distortion of everything that we as a country and a society stand for," said Sohaib Sultan, Muslim Life Coordinator and Chaplain at Princeton University.

Mr Trump also earned the wrath of the United Nations.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the comments were "grossly irresponsible".

Despite the growing furore over the comments, Mr Trump was unrepentant in a series of TV interviews on Tuesday.

He compared his idea to the internment of Japanese and Germans during World War II by Franklin Roosevelt.

On the charge that he was aiding IS propaganda, he said: "I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to ISIS."