An online petition calling for US presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be banned from the UK has been signed by more than 100,000 British citizens in less than 24 hours and could force a parliamentary debate on the issue.
The petition, which has been signed by a number of MPs, was launched on Tuesday after Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the US until the country "can figure out what is going on".
Now that it has received more than 100,000 signatures on the government's website, MPs will have to decide whether parliament should debate the motion.
A spokesperson for No. 10 refused to comment after PMQs on Wednesday on whether Trump would be barred and said it's a "hypothetical question. I'm not aware of any plan Mr Trump has to come to the UK."
Any British citizen or UK resident can start a petition on the government's website, and any that receive more than 10,000 signatures must get an official response. Those that reach 100,000 must be considered by a committee of MPs that decides whether to call a parliamentary debate.
However, BuzzFeed News understands that due to the parliamentary recess, the petitions committee will only meet after the holiday break is over, from 5 January 2016.
Trump's comments were sharply criticised by politicians and Britain's main Muslim group, who suggested that the presidential hopeful should be treated as a "hate preacher" and denied entry to the UK.
On Tuesday, the prime minister condemned the comments as "divisive, unhelpful, and simply wrong", although he stopped short of saying that Trump should be banned from the UK.
Leading Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston told BuzzFeed News yesterday there should be "serious discussion" about whether Trump should be let into the UK.
SNP MP Tasmina Sheikh also weighed in on the discussion and told the Huffington Post Trump should be viewed a "hate preacher" and that entry to the UK should therefore be rejected.
On Monday, Trump focused on London and said there were areas of the city "so radicalised" that even police are "afraid for their own lives".
In response, mayor of London Boris Johnson praised London's diversity and said the only reason to avoid areas of New York is "the risk of meeting Donald Trump".
The Metropolitan police also chimed in, offering Trump a briefing, and said he "could not be more wrong".
Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Siraj Datoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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