Calls to ban Donald Trump from the UK dismissed by George Osborne


George Osborne dismissed calls for US presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be banned from the UK despite more than 100,000 people signing a petition demanding the move.

The Chancellor said the outspoken Republican was "profoundly wrong" about Muslims - who Mr Trump declared should be blocked from entering the United States.

But he told MPs that it was better to challenge the "nonsense" views  - including a claim that parts of London were "so radicalised" that police were "afraid for their own lives" - in "robust democratic argument" than prevent him coming to Britain.

Passing the 100,000 mark means the petition, which was signed more than six times per second in the last hour, will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

It says the "unacceptable behaviour" criteria used to ban individuals such as hate preachers from entering the UK "must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful".

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh pressed the Chancellor to back a ban as he stood in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's question time in the Commons.

But he told her: "The best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage in a robust democratic argument with him 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."

On Mr Trump's claims about London, he told MPs: "The Metropolitan Police do a brilliant job and of course they have fantastic relations with British Muslims and British Muslims have made a massive contribution to our country.

"Frankly, Donald Trump's comments fly in the face of the founding principles of the United States and it's one of the reasons why those founding principles have proved such an inspiration to so many people over the last couple of hundred years.

"I think the best way to defeat nonsense like this is to engage in robust, democratic debate and make it very clear his views are not welcome."

Any issue on which a petition exceeds six-figure support is expected to be debated by MPs unless it is deemed "unsuitable" by the Commons petitions committee - or is being pursued "in another way".

The committee is not due to meet again until January 5.

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.

"I think we would probably see Mr Trump's focus as being on the American presidential election," said a Number 10 spokesman. "I understand he has a primary to fight in six weeks and I'm sure that is what his focus will be on."