(CNSNews.com) – Britain will lose out on more than $1 billion in planned investment in Scottish golf resorts if it bans Donald Trump from entering the country, the Republican presidential candidate’s company said on Wednesday.
It also warned that the millions of Americans who support Trump would be alienated by such a move.
The Trump Organization issued the caution after a parliamentary committee on Tuesday set a January 18 date for a House of Commons debate on the issue. A petition on the Commons website calling for Trump to be barred has drawn more than 570,700 signatures – well over the 100,000 threshold requiring a debate on a matter.
The petition, which accused Trump of “hate speech,” was triggered by his call last month for Muslims to be temporarily banned from entering the U.S., following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. by a couple inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
(Ironically, the second-most popular petition out of more than 2,400 on the Commons website calls on the government to “stop all immigration and close the U.K. borders until ISIS is defeated.” That petition, which has more than 455,000 signatures, has yet to have a date set for a parliamentary debate.)
Another petition, urging the government not to ban Trump, had attracted a little over 40,700 signatures as of Thursday. The initiator of that petition called on Brits to “mind our own business” and to “leave the decision making on appropriate responses to the Americans.”
In its statement, the Trump Organization said it plans to invest more than 200 million pounds ($292.5 million) into the development of the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, currently under refurbishment; and 500 million pounds ($731 million) towards further development at the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen.
“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,” it said.
“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 continued.
“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.”
Trump is chairman and president of the Trump Organization.
The House of Commons debate scheduled for January 18 will consider both the petition calling for a ban on Trump, and the one that urges the government not to ban him.
In a formal response to the petition calling for a ban, the government said on December 29 that it “recognizes the strength of feeling against” Trump’s remarks and recalled that Prime Minister David Cameron had made it clear he disagreed with them.
But it did not say whether it deemed the comments sufficient to lead to an entry ban.
“The Home Secretary has said that coming to the U.K. is a privilege and not a right and she will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the U.K. those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values,” the statement said.
“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.”
As reported earlier, Britain has in the past barred entry to radical Muslim clerics, white supremacists, conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, and anti-Islamist figures including Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Qur’an-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones, and Stop Islamization of America activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.