Banning Donald Trump from the UK would allow the US Presidential hopeful to be portrayed as a martyr, an MP has warned.
MPs debated the petition after the tycoon caused outrage by threatening to ban all Muslims entering the USA in his bid to become the country’s next president.
Labour MP Paul Flynn opened the debate by revealing record numbers support the motion but he did not support a ban.
He insisted the “great danger” of attacking the billionaire businessman is it could “fix on him a halo of victimhood” and boost the cause of his supporters.
Mr Flynn said: “I believe we should greet the extreme things this man says by our own reasonableness and our own hospitality.
“We must confront his words of prejudice, of lack of knowledge, of intolerance and what we should greet him with is a welcoming hand of friendship and knowledge and truth and then, perhaps, more shameful walls of prejudice will come tumbling down.”
Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both attacked Mr Trump’s comments, but said they opposed a ban.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Gordon MP Alex Salmond said he wanted to ban all Donald Trumps from Scotland.
Mr Salmond said: “He has become a liability in terms of his unacceptable behaviour.
“Like most people, if you had told me when I first met him he wanted to be president I would have laughed out loud – but that doesn’t make his behaviour acceptable.
“These latest rants against Muslims and Mexicans are disgraceful and that is why more than 500,000 have signed this petition to get him banned.”
A statement from Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links which has a base at Balmedie, branded the debate “absurd”.
She added: “For the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about American borders during a US election campaign is ridiculous.”