GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has said he will pull £700 million in investment from Scotland if he is officially barred from the UK by the government.
Trump has £200 million unvested in a resort in South Ayrshire and £500 million more in a golf course in Aberdeen.
A statement from Trump’s camp notes that “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.”
“Westminster would create a dangerous precedent and send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment.” the statement continues.
“Many people now agree with Mr Trump that there is a serious problem that must be resolved. This can only be achieved if we are willing discuss these tough issues openly and honestly.” the Trump statement concludes.
The British Parliament will debate the issue of Trump being barred from the country on January 18th, following a petition signed by around half a million people, which called for banning Trump over comments he made about stemming Muslim immigration in the US.
The petition stated: “The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK. 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 response, Trump stated that there is a major problem with extremists in London, with places “that are so radicalized that police are afraid for their own lives.”
The campaigner behind the petition has accused Trump of attempting to blackmail the British government, saying Trump has “thrown a temper tantrum” over the issue.
“Donald Trump is a man that knows the cost of everything – well, a hugely inflated cost of everything – and the value of nothing.” the BBC quoted Suzanne Kelly as saying.
“He’s threatening Scotland once again, as he did over the offshore wind farms, that if he is barred from entering the UK, he’ll pull out of his Scottish golf courses.” she added, referring to Trump’s legal opposition to wind farms currently being planned close to his investments.
“The irony of a man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the US throwing a temper tantrum over being similarly banned himself is apparent to everyone except the tycoon himself.” Kelly fumed.
The UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced last week that she “may exclude” those who are not “conducive to the public good”.
A statement from the Home Office declared that “The Home Secretary may exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good.”
“Exclusion powers are very serious and are not used lightly. The Home Secretary will use these powers when justified and based on all available evidence.” The statement explained, adding that visiting the UK is a privilege and not a right.