LONDON -- An official online petition calling for the government of the United Kingdom to ban Donald Trump from entering the country over his "unacceptable behavior" was still gaining signatures fast Wednesday after crossing the 100,000 threshold forcing leaders to consider it.
The petition, created on a government web portal, had more than 325,000 signatures by 5 p.m. Eastern. That number had doubled in less than 12 hours.
Britain's Home Office does have the power to unilaterally ban foreign nationals from entry, and it has done so in the past.
Other Americans who have already found themselves persona non-grata in the U.K. include Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Florida pastor and "Burn a Quran day" instigator Terry Jones, various leaders of white supremacy groups and the Westboro Baptist Church... the list goes on.
"The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech," the petition's author, a Scottish woman who has been a vocal critic of Trump since he started building golf courses in the country, 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," wrote petition author Suzanne Kelly.
Regardless of the number of Britons that eventually sign the petition, the decision on whether to ban Trump, or any other individual, is made by the Foreign Office.
Teresa May, the U.K. government minister in charge of the Home Office, said Wednesday that she believed it was important for politicians around the world to work for "cohesion among communities rather than division," but she would not say directly whether she would consider banning Trump.
The petition, having gained more than 100,000 supporters, will however force Britain's Parliament to at least consider the move in open debate.
U.K. Finance Minister George Osborne told lawmakers Wednesday that while Trump's views "fly in the face of the founding principles of the United States," it would be wrong to "ban presidential candidates.
"The best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage in a robust democratic argument with him about why he is profoundly wrong," Osborne told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
There has been significant backlash against Trump's remarks about Muslims from British politicians.
Prime Minister David Cameron said through a spokesperson that he considered Trump's suggestion that the U.S. should ban Muslims from entering the country "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong."
In defending his stance, Trump sought to highlight the danger of Muslim extremists in the West by pointing to London as a place where, he said, even the police were afraid to enter certain majority-Muslim neighborhoods.
The outspoken and often controversial Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was quick to dismiss Trump's assertion as inaccurate, at best.
"I think he's portraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of president," Johnson told Britain's Channel 4 News.
Even London's Metropolitan Police Department, which rarely steps into political matters, issued a statement saying it "would not normally dignify such comments with a response, however on this occasion we think it's important to state to Londoners that Mr Trump could not be more wrong."