- British government reserves the right to ban Trump after petition surpasses 500,000 signatures
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron had previously called the billionaire "stupid" and warned against a visit
The British government on Wednesday offered a pointedly inconclusive response to an online citizens' petition
asking that Trump be banned from the country.
In its statement, the government reaffirmed the power of Home Secretary Theresa May to "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," but does not clearly state whether her office would apply that criteria to Trump.
"The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right," the official comment reads. "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."
It goes on to recall comments made by PM David Cameron, who, in speaking to Parliament after Trump launched his proposal to halt the immigration of Muslims into the U.S., called the billionaire "stupid" and "three times a loser."
"The Prime Minister has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump's remarks," the statement said. "The Home Secretary has said that Donald Trump's remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong ... We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect."
Filed on December 8, the move to formally bar Trump from entering the country cites his use of "hate speech" and asks that the state "to continue applying the 'unacceptable behaviour' criteria to those who wish to enter."
The petition quickly surpassed the 100,000 signature mark and raced past 500,000 on December 11. Entering the New Year, it stands at 566,256 -- and growing.