US businessman Donald Trump is a threat to the UK’s national security, an SNP MP has warned.
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said Britain’s laws on hate speech could not apply differently depending on a person’s income or public profile.
The Ochil and South Perthshire MP, who wants the home secretary to make Mr Trump the 85th person to be excluded from Britain for his call for Muslims to be banned from the US, asked: “What does that say about us?
“Our rules and laws must be applied consistently for all.”
She was speaking during a debate in Westminster Hall, the Commons second chamber, on a petition – which has more than half a million signatures – calling for the US presidential hopeful to be barred from coming to the UK.
MPs also discussed a counter-petition entitled Don’t Ban Donald Trump from the UK, which has been signed by just over 40,000 people.
Labour’s Tulip Siddiq spoke in support of a ban, pointing to an increase in anti-Muslim hate crime over the last three months.
But veteran Tory Sir Edward Leigh said the step would mean “falling into the trap he has set”.
He also said barring the tycoon would offend free speech, adding: “In a free country you have the right to offend.”
Sir Edward went on: “If the Government was to act on it (the call for a ban), it would only play into Mr Trump’s hands. His entire style of politics is to stoke controversy and say outrageous things.
“Why feed this machine?”
Labour MP Paul Flynn, who opened the debate, warned against fixing on Mr Trump the “halo of victimhood”, urging instead that his “words of prejudice” be confronted.
The Newport West MP added: “The great danger by attacking this one man is that we can fix on him a halo of victimhood. We give him the role of martyrdom, which can be seen to be an advantage among those that support him.
“A line will go out ’here’s these foreigners interfering, telling us what to do’ and I think that’d be a grave error if we gave them that situation and allowed our deliberations today to be seen to be anti-American.”
Ahead of the debate, the Trump Organisation dismissed it as an “absurd” waste of parliamentary time.
Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links, said: “For the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about American borders, during a US election campaign is ridiculous.
“Westminster is creating a dangerous precedent on this issue and is sending a terrible message to the world.”