The House of Commons Petitions Committee announced Tuesday that the British Parliament will debate whether or not to ban U.S. presidential contender Donald Trump from the United Kingdom.
Parliament will debate the matter on January 18, in response to two online petitions: The first petition, signed by more than 500,000 people, calls for banning Trump from the UK. The second petition, which has nearly 40,000 signatures, argues that Trump should not be banned because that would be "totally illogical."
The UK's Home Office does have the power to unilaterally ban foreign nationals from entry, and it has done so in the past, CBS News' Tucker Reals noted last month.
"The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech," the petition's author, a Scottish woman named Suzanne Kelly, says on the online form. "If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the 'unacceptable behavior' criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful."
In its official response to the petition, the UK government notes, "The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values." However, the statement continues, "Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly."
Prime Minister David Cameron has called Trump's remarks about Muslims "divisive, stupid and wrong."
George A. Sorial, an executive for The Trump Organization, responded to the news of the debate, noting that the Trump Organization has plans for significant investments at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, as well as at the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen.
"Any action to restrict travel would force The Trump Organization to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom," Sorial said in his statement. "Westminster would 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."