U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw a £700 million investment due to be made in two golf courses he owns in Scotland if British Members of Parliament vote to ban him from the country.
A spokesman for Mr Trump said a ban would send a message to the world that the UK opposes free speech, as it emerged that Muslim, Labour Members of Parliament were leading the charge to have Mr. Trump banned.
On Tuesday a House of Commons committee announced that Parliament will debate later this month a petition calling for Mr Trump to be barred entry to the UK. The petition was launched by a long-standing anti-Trump activist in Scotland following remarks made by Mr Trump in which he called for a moratorium on Muslims entering the U.S. until the threat of Islamic extremism is better understood, The Telegraph has reported.
In response, The Trump Organisation has issued a statement detailing plans for a £200 million investment in their Turnberry golf course in South Ayrshire, and a further £500 million in Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, warning that any moves to block Mr Trump from travelling to the UK would “immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom”.
The statement continued: “Westminster would create a dangerous precedent and send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment.
“This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 presidential election.
“Many people now agree with Mr Trump that there is a serious problem that must be resolved. This can only be achieved if we are willing discuss these tough issues openly and honestly.”
The petition, which has gained more than 570,000 signatures in less than one month, argued: “The U.K. has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the U.K.”
In its official response to the petition, the government highlighted both the Prime Minister David Cameron’s, and Home Secretary Theresa May’s opposition to Mr Trumps remarks, in particular Ms May’s comment that Trumps words had been “divisive, unhelpful and wrong.” However, the government added “Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly.”