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British Lawmakers Debate Banning Trump For Rhetoric On Muslims

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In the British Parliament today, a debate over American politics. Specifically, the political speech of Donald Trump. Members of the House of Commons discussed a petition that more than half a million people signed. The petition calls for Trump to be barred from entering the United Kingdom for, quote, "hate speech." Tulip Siddiq with the Labor Party ran through a litany of Trump's remarks that she found offensive, including his call that all Muslims be banned from entering the United States.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TULIP SIDDIQ: His words are poisonous. They risk inflaming tension between vulnerable communities. And let me make one thing clear. We have legislation in our country to make sure we do not let people enter who are not conducive to the public good.

SHAPIRO: There was no vote. The British Home Secretary is the one who could decide to ban Trump for what he says. Siddiq and others argued that he should be banned. They pointed to a list of people who expressed similar views who were not allowed in the country. But Conservative MP Alex Chalk suggested another way of dealing with Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALEX CHALK: Can I not suggest that actually, this is about buffoonery. And ultimately, buffoonery should not be met with the blunt instrument of a ban, but with the classic British response of ridicule.

SHAPIRO: And of course, some MPs embraced that suggestion. They variously described Trump as an idiot, a demagogue and bonkers. Others said let him come, including the Labour Party's Naz Shah.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NAZ SHAH: I'd take him to the mosques. I'd invite him for a curry. We are curry capital of Britain. You know, I would welcome him, and I would have a conversation with him and challenge him on his views.

SHAPIRO: It wasn't all condemnation. Philip Davies, a Conservative, said he doesn't share Trump's views, but admires the Republican candidate's direct approach.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PHILIP DAVIES: In fact, I think in this country we could do with rather less political correctness and much more straight-talking across the board.

SHAPIRO: There was also a very pragmatic argument against banning Trump. It came from Corri Wilson of the Scottish National Party. The Trump organization has said any action to restrict Donald Trump's travel would force them to end their current and future investments. That includes an investment in a golf resort in her constituency.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CORRI WILSON: It would be catastrophic for the resort, and a tragedy for the local community.

SHAPIRO: A reminder that even when it comes to transatlantic relations, all politics is still local. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.