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British Parliament debates banning Donald Trump from country

By Shawn Price   |   Jan. 18, 2016 at 10:52 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in Britain debated whether to ban Donald Trump from their country Monday after a petition demanding it received more than a half-million signatures.

The unique -- and largely rhetorical -- debate took place in a side chamber of the Parliament building and could do little to actually ban the billionaire. It did allow members of both parties to make it clear to Prime Minister David Cameron's government they don't like the guy.

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"His words are not comical. His words are not funny. His words are poisonous," said the Labor Party's Tulip Siddiq. "They risk inflaming tension between vulnerable communities."

Conservative MP Alex Chalk said words were enough: "This is about buffoonery. And buffoonery must not be met with the blunt instrument of a ban. It must be met with the classic British response of ridicule."

There were also MPs who were more supportive of -- or at least more reluctant to criticize -- the current GOP front-runner than others. The debate came about due to an online petition that quickly received 570,000 signatures demanding Trump be banned from their shores after his anti-Muslim remarks about banning all Muslims from entering the United States, or that sections of London and Paris were so full of radicalized Muslims the police feared for the lives.

The three-hour debate ended with no vote being taken. Any real action would ultimately have to be made by the home secretary of the Cameron government. However, parliament could put pressure on the government to take steps if the outcry were loud enough. Monday's session was unlikely to do so.

Labor's Paul Flynn, chairman of the Petitions Committee, led the debate and said that although there was resistance to the matter even coming before Parliament, it would be "very difficult to ignore a vox pop that's so sudden and thunderous and contains the signatures of half a million people," he said. "This is the public speaking with a very loud voice indeed."

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