The British government released a statement to acknowledge the record-breaking petition calling for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be banned from entering the U.K. The petition was created in response to the business mogul’s controversial comments about Muslims.
Following the Dec. 2 San Bernardino attack committed by a radicalized Muslim couple, Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslims from being allowed entry into the U.S.
Trump cited Europe as an example of how soft immigration policies could lead to a rampant infiltration of jihadist sympathizers in the U.S.
“London and other places ... are so radicalized that the police are afraid for their own lives,” Trump said, according to Politico.
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The GOP candidate’s comments sparked outrage in the U.K., with Prime Minister David Cameron decrying them as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson added, “The only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”
In response to Trump's comments on Muslims, Suzanne Kelly created a petition titled “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry.” The British government is required to respond to petitions that accrue 10,000 signatures and hold parliamentary debate if they reach 100,000 signatures, according to ABC News.
The petition to ban Donald Trump reached 565,000 signatures, making it the most-signed U.K. online petition in history.
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Trump fired back on social media as the call to have him banned gained traction, according to The Huffington Post.
“The United Kingdom is trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem,” the GOP candidate tweeted on Dec. 10. “Everybody is wise to what is happening, very sad! Be honest.”
The British government has been hesitant to comment on the petition’s popularity, likely because placing a ban on a man who could possibly become the next president of the U.S. would be an unprecedented move. It responded on Dec. 30 with a written statement.
The statement reads:
"The government has a policy of not routinely commenting on individual immigration or exclusion cases.
"The Home Secretary may exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good.
"The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values. Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly. The Home Secretary will use these powers when justified and based on all available evidence.
"The Prime Minister has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s remarks. The Home Secretary has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong.
"The Government recognizes the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them. We reject any attempts to create division and marginalization amongst those we endeavor to protect."