Published:

45 comments

Commons

It feels like a lot longer, but it’s only just over a year since MPs gathered in Westminster Hall to debate the idea of banning Donald Trump from the UK. Now that he’s President, and a new petition is in the offing to oppose his State Visit, we revisit some of the Conservative contributions to that debate:

Paul Scully MP

“There are examples of when people have been excluded from this country. I have heard of a number of cases in which people have been excluded for incitement or for hatred; I have never heard of someone being excluded for stupidity, and I am not sure that we should start now…I hope that over the course of the debate we will be able to concentrate on practical ways that this country can tackle immigration and community cohesion, rather than worrying about the ego of one man.”

“…The hon. Gentleman makes some really interesting points. The examples he uses, however, are surely more about Donald Trump being a bigot than hatred. Britain is pretty good at roasting beef. Does the hon. Gentleman not think it would be better to just roast Trump?”

Philip Davies MP

“The hon. Lady said that she does not want any exceptions, but I have heard large number of my constituents make similar remarks to those of Donald Trump. She may disagree with them, but lots of my constituents agree with what Donald Trump said, whether I like it or not. Does she think that they should be expelled from the country as a result of their views?”

“…Donald Trump has been waging what might be described as a one-man campaign against political correctness for some time now. As someone who has had their own campaign against political correctness for some time here in this Parliament, nobody will be surprised to hear that I can relate to that. In the race to become the next President, he has been gaining support with a political manner that could be described as “blunt directness”. He is definitely straight-talking and, as a Yorkshireman, I certainly applaud him for that too…Lots of people in this room who are always talking about the rights of minorities seem very quiet all of a sudden when people who have a minority opinion have the nerve to express it. What about the rights of those minorities in this country?”

Sir Edward Leigh MP

“We all lament the divisiveness of politics, which seem particularly divisive in the United States when viewed from afar, from our side of the pond. Does a debate such as this really help? Would banning Mr Trump, which would be even worse, really help? Most of us in this room oppose Mr Trump for demonising his opponents. If we ban him from the country, are we not in danger of doing the same? Like it or not, Mr Trump is also a contender to be the Head of State of arguably the most powerful country on the planet, a country which is a vital ally of ours. We have welcomed to this country Saudi and Chinese leaders, not to mention Mr Ceausescu, whose crimes are far worse than anything Mr Trump can dream up.”

“…This is also an attempt to shut down an honest debate about immigration. As soon as one mentions immigration, one is labelled a right winger or a racist. That is not the way to solve the problem of integration.”

“…On the point about 1.6 billion Muslims, thank God there are not 1.6 billion Trumps.”

Tom Tugendhat MP

“As the first amendment to the US constitution makes clear, freedom of expression is essential for a free people. That is why, although I may not like what has been said and although I am absolutely sure that I would not support it, it is no place for me or this House to criticise a man running for elected office in a foreign country. We might not wish him here, we might not like him here, but we should not vote against his ability to speak or his right to travel when we, too, value the same rights of liberty…I think that Donald Trump is crazy and has no valid points to make, but I will not be the one to silence his voice.”

Victoria Atkins MP

“His comments about Muslims are wrong. His policy to close borders, if he is elected as President, is bonkers. If he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency, they may well tell him that he is a wazzock for dealing with the issue in that way. I sense that my constituents, whether in New York or Tetney, in Minting or Mablethorpe, feel that their values are more than robust enough to survive anything that Mr Trump may say. We in Lincolnshire—in fact, we in the United Kingdom—should have enough confidence in our values to allow him to say whatever he wants in New York, New York, or in New York, Lincolnshire, or anywhere else in the world, because our British values are stronger than some among us here today appear to fear.”

Alex Chalk MP

“The hon. Lady is making a powerful speech, but may I suggest that this is actually about buffoonery? Ultimately, buffoonery should be met not with the blunt instrument of a ban, but with the classic British response of ridicule.”

Steve Double MP

“I wonder how long the list would be if our country began to ban people because they said things we did not like. Ignorant and unpleasant as Donald Trump’s comments are, he is not alone in saying such things. For starters, we would have to ban the Prime Minister of Hungary who has, I believe, said equally offensive things about Muslims. The way we deal with bigotry and prejudice is by confronting it head on, not trying to avoid it. Banning someone like Donald Trump risks making him a martyr.”

Kwasi Kwarteng MP

“…we are simply adding fuel to this whole media circus, and that is playing exactly into Donald Trump’s hands. A ban, if it happened, would be a headline throughout the world. It would simply reignite all the publicity that he generated with his outrageous policy and would exacerbate the situation. It would make it more likely that he would be the eventual victor in the Republican nomination fight, and he may well—who knows?—win the election in November. Then we would be in the absurd situation in which we would have banned the President of the United States from coming to Britain. That would be an insane situation to be in. People may say that he has no chance of becoming President, but look at the odds on the right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) becoming the Leader of the Opposition.”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

“We have seen in Europe what happens when an entire people are demonised for no reason other than their race, so I do not think that we should trivialise this discussion; it is a really important debate. Nor do I think that the result of the US presidential election will be decided on whether the Home Secretary decides to exclude Donald Trump. In fact, I would argue that, should Donald Trump be excluded from one of the US’s oldest allies, that would send a very clear message to the people of the United States about what we feel about those who demonise an entire people for no reason other than their religion…I say this to Donald Trump. Just reflect on the consequences of your kind of religious bigotry.”

Marcus Fysh MP

“…Mr Trump—the Donald, the orange prince of American self-publicity…He has said things that many of us would not, and the addition of celebrity has been somewhat grotesque. To say that he would ban Muslims from entering America was too simplistic, unhelpful and wrong. I do not think that there is any evidence that he does not believe in democracy itself, however, so talk of fascism is a bit overblown…Although they have been cynically expressed and exploited by Mr Trump, people’s concerns about the terrorist challenge need to be addressed. However, we need to work positively with Muslim communities, rather than demonising them. Where better for Mr Trump’s spurious opinions and characterisations to be debated and debunked than here in the UK, the crucible of modern democracy, in which heads are no longer lost for dissent? Who would not want to watch him being pricked, poked and prodded on “Have I Got News for You”? Let him come. Bad opinions and characters have been allowed in Britain before—not a few of them home-grown. We would not want to allow him any victimhood with which further to hoodwink people. I hope that if he came, honest British Muslims would have their say, and even more people would decide to use their good sense and not vote for him. Less seriously—who knows?—up close, we might get to see just what is under that hair.”

45 comments for: Flashback: “Wazzock…buffoon…bigot” – when Tory MPs debated banning Trump from the UK

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.