Republican front-runner Donald Trump has threatened to pull out his £700 million investment in Scotland if he is banned from entering the United Kingdom.
Trump Organization warned British authorities Wednesday that he will "immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom" if a petition to ban him thrives at the parliament.
More than half a million people have signed the petition to ban him over anti-Islam remarks, which peaked when he called for a “complete” shutdown of Muslims seeking to enter the United States.
Trump’s right to free speech
British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced the remarks as “divisive, stupid and wrong” but made it clear at the time that he did not support banning him.
UK officials in the House of Commons, however, announced on Tuesday that a hearing session would be held in Westminster Hall on January 18 to debate the online petition as it has gained more than 100,000 signatures.
Banning Trump would “send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech,” his organization said.
The billionaire real estate mogul will stop investing in two Scottish gold courses he owns if such a measure is taken.
The statement also claimed that he was planning to invest £200 million at Turnberry golf course in South Ayrshire and £500 million in Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen.
"This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr. Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 presidential election,” it read. "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."
Scotland, not Trump's play thing
According to the Daily Telegraph, Muslim Labour MP Tulip Siddiq reacted to the warning, noting that “money doesn't buy the right to sow discord and hatred in our communities.”
“The United Kingdom should not be held to ransom by corrosive billionaire politicians,” Siddiq said. “Donald Trump's threats about withholding investment from the UK is another desperate attempt to get in the headlines and anyone seeing his comments should reject his bigotry."
Ian Blackford, a member of the committee that has planned the debate, also denounced threats by the former reality TV star.
“It is unfortunate that Donald Trump thinks he can treat Scotland and the people of this country as a personal play thing,” Blackford said.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to lead the crowded Republican field despite making controversial remarks against Mexican immigrants, women, Muslims, and African Americans.