Donald Trump has reacted to the announcement that MPs will debate banning him from entering the UK over his incendiary pledge to ban Muslims from the US by threatening to pull the plug on what his company claims are plans to invest more than £700m in Scotland.
MPs are due to address calls for the travel sanctions in the House of Commons on 18 January after more than half a million people signed a petition triggering the debate.
The US Republican presidential candidate, who became the focus of the petition after his call for Muslims to be banned from entering the US, reacted on Wednesday by saying his organisation had plans to invest more than £200m in the development of his resort in South Ayrshire and invest £500m in a golf course in Aberdeen.
“Any action to restrict travel would force the Trump Organisation to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom,” his company said in a statement.
“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.”
It added that many millions of US citizens who it said “wholeheartedly support Mr Trump” would also be alienated.
“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.”
More than 570,000 people signed the petition demanding the billionaire businessman be barred. Politicians will also discuss a separate petition opposing such a ban, even though it only gained about 40,000 signatures – well below the 100,000 threshold for triggering a debate.
Trump, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in the US, faced an international backlash last month after urging a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
The UK government signalled last month that it would not refuse Trump entry.
The debate in Westminster Hall will be led by the Labour MP Paul Flynn, a member of the House of Commons petitions committee. He said on Wednesday that he would suggest inviting Trump “to view London/Newport/Cardiff areas of proud racial harmony”.
Justifying his calls for a ban on Muslims entering the US, Trump had claimed there were “places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives”.
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